Lack of dental insurance a problem for millions

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Lack of dental insurance is an "endemic problem" that affects millions of people, largely those without jobs, health coverage or solid incomes. "It began with a toothache. Tori Pence, 23, could feel the hole that had suddenly developed on her tooth, and she couldn't stand either hot or cold food. The bespectacled girl with electric-blue hair had worked a string of odd jobs and hadn't seen a dentist for at least five years. When she finally got in to see one, she needed a root canal. And fillings for 15 cavities." Health reform for dental coverage offers a mixed bag. "The law increases coverage for children, and will eventually cover more adults under Medicaid, the joint state-federal health plan for the poor. But adult dental services are often hard to find: Less than one-third of dentists in Pennsylvania and New Jersey participate in Medicaid" (Minters, 7/26).

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: "Even though getting dental care can mean life or death — [it is even] related to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and low birth weight — dental insurance remains something of a luxury item for millions of Americans. Compared to the 15 percent of Americans who lack health insurance, the U.S. Surgeon General's Office estimates 108 million — or about 35 percent of the population — lack dental insurance coverage. The National Association of Dental Plans estimates a bigger problem, with about 47 percent having no dental insurance" (Geggis, 7/26).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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