Dental Care Presents The Highest Level Of Financial Barriers, Compared To Other Types Of Health Care Services

Publication Abstract

Vujicic, Marko, Thomas C. Buchmueller, and Rachel Klein. 2016. "Dental Care Presents The Highest Level Of Financial Barriers, Compared To Other Types Of Health Care Services." Health Affairs, 35(12): 2176-2182.

The Affordable Care Act is improving access to and the affordability of a wide range of health care services. While dental care for children is part of the law's essential health benefits and state Medicaid programs must cover it, coverage of dental care for adults is not guaranteed. As a result, even with the recent health insurance expansion, many Americans face financial barriers to receiving dental care that lead to unmet oral health needs. Using data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, we analyzed financial barriers to a wide range of health care services. We found that irrespective of age, income level, and type of insurance, more people reported financial barriers to receiving dental care, compared to any other type of health care. We discuss policy options to address financial barriers to dental care, particularly for adults.

10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0800

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