A new national survey of nearly 400 dental providers participating in Medicaid dental plans offers more evidence that the pandemic is contributing to a coming surge in oral disease.
In the new survey, conducted by CareQuest Institute, nearly half of dental providers (46%) said they observed an increase in the number of patients who reported having lost their commercial dental insurance because of a job loss related to the pandemic. Providers who saw this increase in the loss of coverage said that patients lacking insurance had taken a variety of actions:
- 73% of providers said these patients had cancelled a dental appointment.
- 62% said these patients had postponed an appointment.
- 41% said these patients had asked about alternative treatment plans.
- 35% said these patients kept their appointments and asked about private pay or other options for financing the cost of care
These findings echo the takeaways from a 2021 survey of consumers that showed about 6 million U.S. adults lost their dental insurance because of job losses or benefits changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. These data raise concerns that both the dental and medical care system could face a rising stream of patients with more acute oral health or systemic health needs.
You may also be interested in:
- A suite of resources — including infographics and reports — developed from findings from a nationally representative survey of consumer and patient attitudes, experiences, and behaviors on oral health.
- Dental Providers Offer a Key Access Point for COVID-19 Booster Shots, a brief that assesses the willingness of dental providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequent boosters.
- A Difficult Path to COVID-19 Recovery, a report that explores the ways COVID-19 has changed how dentists will practice going forward.