The Link between Aging and Propensity for Extensive Dental Treatment
The elderly U.S. population is growing at a substantial pace: according to the American Journal of Public Health, in 2015 older adults will number approximately 46 million and fifteen years later (2030), one in five Americans will be 65 years of age or older.1 The following are some of the factors that demonstrate why this demographic group is likely to have significant dental treatment needs both now and in the future:
Less than 30% of adults age 65 years and older surveyed from 1999 to 2004 experience edentulism (complete loss of all natural teeth). In addition, nearly 70% of people aged 75 years and over surveyed from 1999 to 2004 have some remaining natural teeth averaging approximately 10 teeth lost.2 An older adult population retaining more natural teeth expands the need for increased dental treatment among this age group than those of previous generations.
For example: fillings, bridges, implants, removable partial dentures, root canals, services to treat gum disease, and preventive based services are treatments needed by older adults.
Dental cavities (caries) are a substantial problem for older adults and are a major cause of tooth loss. Nearly one-fifth (18%) of adults 65 years and older, surveyed from 1999 to 2004, have untreated dental caries.2 If untreated, caries can cause pain, dental abscess formation, and may also lead to a significant facial infection with major health consequences.
Oral cancer is predominantly a disorder of the elderly. Those over the age of 65 are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer than those under 65.5 3 Detection of oral cancer through periodic dental examinations can significantly reduce the risk of these life threatening cancers.
Adding dental coverage through a voluntary (employee-paid) plan presents attractive options for retirees.
In addition, retirees can gain access to group rates for dental coverage, which helps them manage their dental expenses.
In the past five years, dental costs have increased between 5% and 8% per year4— an inflation rate up to three times that of goods and services shown in the Consumer Price Index.5 So it is understandable that, access to a comprehensive dental plan helps retirees maintain their oral health. Important in this equation is that the dental benefits plan is offered by a company they know and trust to meet these needs.6
Retirees who value oral health are looking for a comprehensive benefits plan. And, based on MetLife research, a valuable dental plan for today’s retirees is not solely based on price but balanced with richness of benefits and service7 — retirees do not want less coverage for less cost. In particular, retirees are not only looking for a dental benefits plan that covers preventive and basic procedures, but also major treatments such as implants and resin fillings on molars and dentures.7 Retirees also place high value on increased annual maximums, limited deductibles (on major services only or no deductible at all) — and they’re willing to pay for these features.7
If you are currently a Federal annuitant or thinking about retirement, did you know The MetLife Federal Dental Plan –“FEDVIP” is a great way to protect against unforeseen dental costs?
Crowns, fillings and other dental treatment can be expensive, and they’re costs you just don’t often plan for.
According to a nationwide survey by MetLife:
- 97% of patients were satisfied with the network program 10
- 98% of patients were satisfied with the quality of care received from a participating network dentist 10
- 97% of patients were satisfied with the value of the network for the price paid 10
It pays to be smart when it comes to your teeth, because it’s been shown that oral health may be related to your overall health.8 So taking care of your teeth now may not only save you expensive dental bills in the future, but help you enjoy your retirement for years to come. Take MetLife’s Dental Risk Assessments and find out what you can do to maintain your oral health — MetLife Oral Health Library.
With MetLife, you can go to the dentist you’re most comfortable with — because we recognize you are more likely to go regularly when you trust who you’re seeing. And with over 182,000 participating dentist locations across the country, there’s a good chance your dentist is part of MetLife’s network.
When you see a participating network dentist, you’re assured of getting care from a professional who has passed a rigorous selection process and works according to some
of the strictest guidelines in the industry.
Still, despite our insistence on higher standards, you’ll pay less. If you visit a participating network dentist, your out-of-pocket expenses will most likely be less, since network dentists agree to accept MetLife’s negotiated fees as payment in full. Typically, these fees are 15-45% less than the average charges in the same community.9 When you stay in-network, you’ll pay less even for services that aren’t covered — like cosmetic dentistry, more frequent cleanings, or when you reach your annual maximum — since MetLife’s negotiated fees apply to these services as well
Standard Option — Covers Basic, Intermediate and Major Services with a $1,200 In-Network Annual Maximum.
High Option — Covers Basic, Intermediate and Major Services with a $10,000 In-Network Annual Maximum.
With MetLife, there’s no paperwork if your dentist submits your claims for you. Your dentist can even get a pre-treatment estimate over the phone or via the Internet while you’re in the dental office. And any time you want to check coverage, claim status or history, or get a pre-treatment estimate you can get a quick answer from us via the Internet, fax or Customer Service Representative. With The MetLife Federal Dental Plan, you can feel confident that you’re taking charge of your oral care.
1 Oral Health Care Services for Older Adults: A Looming Crisis. American Journal of Public Health, May 2004, Volume 94, No. 5 at 699.
2 Dye BA, Tan S, Smith V, Lewis BG, Barker LK, Thorton-Evans G, et al. Trends in oral health status: United States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 11(248). 2007.
3 Ageism in Healthcare: Are Our Nation’s Seniors Receiving Proper Oral Health Care?, Statement of Richard H. Carmona, Surgeon General, September 22, 2003, http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/testimony/ageism09222003.htm.
4 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary. National Health Expenditures 1965 – 2016, History and Projections by Type of Service and Source of Funds: Calendar Years 1965 – 2016, January 2017.
5 U.S.Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index: December 2006, January 2007.
6 MetLife Research, Full Service Dental for Retirees Buyer – Non Buyer Study, January 2007.
7 MetLife Research, Full Service Dental for Retirees Conjoint Study, June 2007.
8 Certain studies have pointed to associations between oral health and medical conditions such as diabetes. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General — Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.
9 Savings in the Retirement Benefits program will depend on various factors, including how often a participant visits the dentist and the cost for services rendered. Occasionally, there may be a service for which the dentist's fee is the same or less than the MetLife negotiated fee for that service.
10 2010 2nd Quarter MetLife Network Satisfaction Survey. Results based on participants who visited a MetLife Network dentist and reported that they are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied.
Like most group health insurance policies, MetLife group policies contain certain exclusions, limitations, waiting periods and terms for keeping them in force. Please refer to the Important Benefit Information document, visit www.metlife.com/benefits or contact MetLife for details.
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