A lifetime dental plan can be pricey, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, according to a study.
A review of the financial and social impact of dental care across Australia found the cost to the average family of living a healthy lifestyle can be far lower than expected.
Cigna’s research found the average household will save $1,300 per year if they keep their dental health up, and about $1.50 per week if they go on a dental plan that includes a long-term dental plan.
That would leave a family of four saving an average of $20,800 over a lifetime.
“We believe the dental plan is the key to a healthy life, and if we can make it affordable for our family, we can live a long, healthy and rewarding life,” the CEO of Cigna said.
Health experts agree the average American family will save about $20k annually on a lifetime dental care plan, and in Australia it could be as low as $15,000.
Dr Rachael Nairn, from the Australian National University, said the study showed dental insurance was the only option for families who had trouble keeping their dental habits up.
“[This] will mean that people with dental health problems and the ones that need dental care are also more likely to have trouble maintaining a dental lifestyle,” she said.
“The people that are most likely to suffer are people who have problems with the way their teeth are formed.”
Cindy Jones, who has three children with multiple dental problems, had to take a dental leave to pay for dental care.
She had to pay out of pocket for treatment, which can add up to more than $300 a year.
Jones’ eldest son is now able to have a permanent denture, and the family’s youngest son is able to wear a prosthetic tooth.
‘Not the same as dental’As the cost of dental insurance increases, the benefits of dental health insurance remain uncertain, with some insurers saying that for those with chronic conditions, a dental stay is no longer worth it.
While the average cost of a long term dental plan in Australia was around $30,000, it can reach as high as $55,000 for a family with an annual income of more than 50,000 dollars.
But the report from Cignas study also found dental insurance for families with an income between 50,001 and 70,000 would cost around $150,000 annually.
Nairn said while the average costs of dental treatments were higher in the US, the cost was comparable to Australia.
Dental care in Australia could be much cheaper than it was in the U.S. due to the “unusual” cost structure, she said, which allowed a lot of dental work to be performed by dentists who were not required to be licensed.
“In Australia, there are a lot more dentists, a lot less dentists,” Nairne said.
“So you’re seeing a lot fewer people being trained, a number of dentists are trained for less money.”
Nail care expert Dr John Boudreau said that while he believed the average Australian family would save about the same amount as the United States, he did not think they would be as well off.
In Australia’s dental market, it’s estimated there are more than 200,000 people on the dental insurance rolls, with an average household earning between $180,000 and $270,000 a year, according the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The cost of insurance was also higher in Australia than in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, with the cost for dental treatment being $200,000 or more in the latter two countries, the report found.
Other experts also said it was important to remember that the average person in Australia does not need to spend the same money on dental care as in the rest of the world.
One study found that while Australians spend around $5,000 on dental services a year in the developed world, they spend just $4,000 in the developing world.
Topics:health,health-policy,dental-united-states,health,dentistry,cigna-corporation,healthcare-facilities,medicine,australia,united-kingdom,aus,nz,nsw,vancouver-5030First posted June 03, 2019 09:34:59Contact Andrew Smith