Projections Of Dental Care Use Through 2026 Preventive Care To Increase While Treatment Will Decline
Author: Chad D. Meyerhoefer, Irina Panovska, Richard J. Manski
This study provides a forward-thinking assessment of the factors likely to affect future trends in dental care in the United States. We developed a forecasting model based on historical data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to determine how demographic trends and recent health care policies will affect dental care use in the future. Our forecasts suggest that the medical and dental insurance reforms instituted under the Affordable Care Act will increase rates of dental care use and the number of dental visits, with utilization rates reaching 47 percent in 2026 and the number of visits reaching 334 million, under optimistic assumptions about take-up of pediatric dental coverage. Our forecasting model also indicates that visits for preventive dental care will increase in the future, while visits for dental treatment will decline. Our forecasts can be used to infer future need for different types of dental care providers and to provide policy makers with the information needed to consider the expansion of mandates for dental benefit coverage to adult populations covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and individual and small-group plans sold on health insurance exchanges.