The curious case of dental insurance
It’s always struck me as strange that dental insurance is separate from health insurance. The teeth and gums (as far as I can tell) are an integral part of the body. Dentists are called “Doctor,” they do well visits and procedures, make referrals, and for all intents and purposes seem to be part of the health care system.
Yet dental insurance isn’t so widely available. My group is too small to qualify even in mandate-happy, insurance-promoting Massachusetts. My dentist is great, but I still have to pay “charges” rather than let my payer handle fee negotiations.
My prediction is that things will change. An op-ed piece by a dental insurance executive in today’s Boston Globe (The silent epidemic in our mouths) points out:
Oral infection in children is a harbinger of future dental disease, and chronic oral infections are associated with an array of problems later in life, including heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, and premature births.
As we become more aware of the link between dental health and overall health, expect the dental profession to be more fully integrated into the medical system and for dental insurance to become just a component of comprehensive health insurance.October 6, 2006