|[December 09, 2013]
A WellPoint Survey Finds Baby Boomers Want Information on Dental Insurance
INDIANAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--
A new WellPoint survey, which examines how Americans (age 45 and older)
view dental coverage benefits, reveals that Americans over age 45
understand that good oral care can positively affect their overall
heath. However, while 83 percent of Americans surveyed say they have
medical coverage (from either an employer or the government), only
half as many are covered by dental insurance. And, as baby
boomers plan for retirement, those with dental coverage say they need more
information about future costs and changes to their dental plan upon
This survey also shows that nine out of 10 older Americans (93 percent)
believe good dental care is important to their overall health and that
routine dental check-ups can help prevent heart disease and other
chronic conditions (90 percent). This awareness contrasts with the fact
that only four in 10 older Americans (41 percent) say they currently
have dental coverage (from an employer, private and/or supplemental).
Furthermore, 32 percent of those without insurance admit to forgoing
dental benefits because they have other expenses to worry about.
In addition, older Americans with dental insurance are concerned about
maintaining their dental coverage upon retirement, with the majority
admitting they are not aware of all
their options. More than half (53 percent) of older Americans who have
dental insurance worry about how they will afford coverage upon
retirement and 62 percent say they are concerned about how coverage will
change. And, two-thirds of older Americans say they lack information
about dental insurance for retirement and they want more information
about the dental insurance options available after retirement (67
percent) and about supplemental dental insurance coverage (65 percent).
"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," said Dani Fjelstad, president of WellPoint's Dental
business. "However, this survey uncovered a knowledge gap about dental
insurance options that employers and insurers need to address."
According to the survey, older Americans look at a variety of sources
for information about dental insurance. Heath care providers top the
list (17 percent), followed by insurance company websites (14 percent),
human resource departments (13 percent), family members (12 percent) and
friends (11 percent). In comparing baby boomers to the previous
generation, baby bomers are significantly more
interested in information about dental insurance options (70 percent
versus 59 percent) and supplemental dental coverage (68 percent versus
58 percent) for retirement.
Furthermore, older Americans with dental insurance (62 percent) say they
would like a plan that bundles dental and vision insurance together.
WellPoint's affiliated plans offer a variety of supplemental coverage
plans, which includes dental and vision services. Packages may includes
dental exams, cleanings and comprehensive vision exams, as well as the
SilverSneakers® fitness program* (including a fitness center
membership), older adult care support resources, a member assistance
program with counseling services, and travel assistance for those who
encounter a medical emergency while traveling abroad (including medical
evacuation to the nearest appropriate treatment facility, bedside visits
for a family member or a friend if hospitalized for more than seven days
or if in critical condition, and assistance in replacing lost
prescription medications or contact lenses)**.
Additional survey results found:
Older Americans select dental coverage because it is vital to their
overall health (58 percent); is inexpensive compared to paying
out-of-pocket dental costs (52 percent); and protects them in case of
dental emergencies (44 percent).
As part of their dental coverage, older Americans with dental coverage
are most interested in diagnostic and preventative services (77
percent), minor restorative dental services (67 percent) and
prosthodontics (54 percent).
Nearly half of older Americans with dental coverage are interested in
coverage for oral surgery (47 percent), while four in 10 are
interested in emergency coverage (44 percent) and coverage for root
canals (42 percent).
Six in 10 Americans with dental insurance (61 percent) report they
would pay more for comprehensive dental coverage, while more than a
quarter (27 percent) would pay more for dental insurance if it
included benefits such as fitness programs and/or legal or financial
* The SilverSneakers Fitness Program provided by Healthways, Inc., an
independent company. SilverSneakers® is a registered mark of Healthways,
**Check the local plan details for the specific offerings available in
WellPoint's Blue states (which includes California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New
Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin).
The online survey was conducted using the field services of TNS (News - Alert), a
national research agency. The study reached a national sample of 2,500
American adults ages 18 and older, of which 1,563 were over the age of
44. For the purposes of this survey, "older Americans" are defined as
Americans who are ages 45 years and above (n=1,563), including Americans
45-64 (described as baby boomers=1,142) and Americans 65 years and above
(n=421). The margin of error for the older Americans sample is ±2.5% at
the 95 percent confidence level. This means that if we were to replicate
the study, we would expect to get the same results (within 2.5
percentage points) 95 times out of 100.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint is one of the nation's leading health benefits companies. We
believe that our health connects us all. So we focus on being a valued
health partner and delivering quality products and services that give
members access to the care they need. With more than 67 million people
served by our affiliated companies including approximately 36 million
enrolled in our family of health plans, we can make a real difference to
meet the needs of our diverse customers. We're an independent licensee
of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We serve members as the
Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue Cross and Blue
Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky,
Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada,
New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10
New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue
Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties
only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of
Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these service areas, our
plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue
Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). We also
serve customers in other states through our Amerigroup, CareMore and
1-800 CONTACTS, Inc. subsidiaries. To find out more about us, go to wellpoint.com.
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