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J Health Econ. 1988 Mar;7(1):59-72.

Insurance coverage and the demand for dental care. Results for non-aged white adults.


The fraction of the U.S. population with private dental insurance coverage increased considerably during the past two decades. Experimental data from the Rand Health Insurance Study have revealed that dental insurance is an important determinant of demand. In this analysis, detailed health insurance data from the National Medical Care Expenditure Survey are used to study the effects of insurance on demand by a standard population of white adults aged 16 to 64. Results from this national probability sample are generally comparable to those from the Rand experimental data. Estimates indicate that the primary effects of dental insurance are to facilitate access to care and to increase dental expenditures. Results are consistent with the notion that first-dollar coverage exerts a greater effect on demand than insurance which requires payment of a deductible. Findings also suggest that insurance affects the mix of dental services received. Loss of dental benefits because of cost containment efforts will result in significant reductions in demand for dental services.

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