Study: Pricing Inconsistencies Deter People from Getting Dental Care

Posted on October 9, 2013

 

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired - Jul 16, 2013) - More than 1 million Los Angeles residents have visited the dentist only once or not at all in the past 10 years, according to a survey released today by Empirica Research and Santa Monica-based Brighter.com. Nearly 5 million Angelenos lack dental insurance and more than half of that population reported not getting any preventative care at the dentist, including regular cleanings.

"People are neglecting basic dental care because of high prices and not knowing the fees prior to their visit," said Jake Winebaum, Founder and CEO of Brighter.com, which offers a simple, free alternative to dental insurance. "Los Angeles residents, particularly the nearly 50% who lack dental insurance, must purchase their care without the benefit of price transparency or any negotiating leverage. As a result, prices between two dentists on the same block can vary by as much as $500. This study demonstrates that uncertainty keeps people from going to the dentist and getting the care they need."

With the current system, where there is no easy way of obtaining pricing information from provider to provider, consumers are not empowered to make smart choices when it comes to dental care. This has resulted in a city and nation with deteriorating oral health and no leverage to demand better, more affordable care.

"We find that patients with irregular upkeep frequently have more costly visits than those who are diligent about regular checkups," said family dentist Sandra Shakibkhoo. "There are many simple ways patients can make their visits more affordable from good brushing and flossing at home to developing a treatment plan with their dentist."

Additional findings from this survey include:

-- Nearly three-fourths of LA's uninsured have at least one major unmet dental care need (i.e. missing teeth, bleeding gums, toothache, etc.)

-- Even among LA's insured residents, more than half have an unmet dental need, significantly higher than the national average

-- Half of these insured Angelinos also cite high cost as the top reason they delay dental care, even with the help of their insurance

To access the 2013 Los Angeles Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility, visit www.Brighter.com.

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