WellPoint: Dental insurance important to baby boomers

Although Americans aged 45 and older value dental coverage benefits, only four in 10 older Americans have dental insurance from an employer, private and/or supplemental plan, finds a new survey from WellPoint.

The online survey involved a national sample 1,563 older Americans, with 93 percent citing good dental care as a way to improve overall health and 90 percent saying routine dental check-ups can help prevent chronic conditions.

More than half of baby boomers with dental insurance worry about coverage costs and changes upon retirement (53 percent and 62 percent, respectively). And as baby boomers plan for the future, roughly two-thirds want more information about post-retirement dental insurance options.

"There has been a positive surge of awareness around personal health and it is assuring that baby boomers understand the link between dental care and overall health," WellPoint Dental Business President Dani Fjelstad said today in a statement. "However, this survey uncovered a knowledge gap about dental insurance options that employers and insurers need to address."

WellPoint's survey found 61 percent of older Americans with dental insurance would pay more for comprehensive dental coverage and 27 percent would pay more for dental insurance that included fitness programs and/or legal or financial counseling services.

However, the Affordable Care Act doesn't include dental care for adults, according to the Bremerton Patriot.

Omitted as essential health benefits in plans sold through the online marketplaces, adult dental services remains one of 10 services insurers are least likely to cover, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. HealthPocket in August analyzed more than 11,000 health plans and found 81 percent don't include adult dental services in their plans.

Recognizing the connection between oral health and overall health, Washington State might add adult dental coverage to its health insurance exchange in 2015, the Bremerton Patriot noted.

To learn more:
- here's the survey announcement
- read the Patriot article

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