Lack of dental insurance a problem for millions

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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).


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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