Poor dental health impacts overall health, contributing to millions of lost work and school hours annually, and more emergency room visits. While routine dental exams can help prevent some or all of these outcomes, many do not receive necessary dental care.
Executive Director, National Association of Dental Plans (NADP)
Why? The cost of dental care is the No. 1 barrier, followed by lack of coverage, according to the 2020 NADP Consumer Survey. Those with dental coverage are 50 percent more likely to have visited the dentist in the past year and receive needed dental care. The mission of the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) is to overcome these barriers by improving consumer access to affordable, quality dental care.
NADP members are major dental plans and non-profit organizations that cover more than 200 million Americans with individual and employer-sponsored dental benefits, which overcome the top two barriers to care. Each year, dental plans contribute millions of dollars in dental care to uninsured individuals.
The extra mile
The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession brought a wave of furloughs and job losses, with concerns about keeping dental coverage and accessing dentist visits. Dental plans responded by supporting consumers, employers, and dentists during the pandemic in many ways.
They eased the financial burden for consumers and employers with premium rebates and credits, and made it easier to access dentists by covering teledentistry visits. Plans also promoted better dental health by encouraging people to seek care through extended annual maximum limits, waiving or reducing plan deductibles, and waiving or relaxing frequency limitations and pre-authorization requirements.
Dental plans helped dentists be more prepared, too, by offering economic assistance to support the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) through advance claims payment programs, low- or no-interest loans and grants, and temporary PPE courtesy payments.
The NADP promotes access to dental care by advocating for consumer choice and access in state and federal policies, and offering useful public resources, like educational information about benefits and oral health on WhyDental.org. There’s also an online, searchable directory of dental carriers by state and product on NADP.org.