How Dental Memberships Offer Health Equity for Pediatric Patients
The state of oral health in the U.S. has dramatically improved in the last 60 years, but the country still has plenty of strides to make — specifically regarding how children and their families access quality dental care.
Studies have shown that improvements in the oral health of young children have yet to follow this national trend.
Oral health disparities in some of the youngest groups of children may be widening. Dental cavities are now the most common childhood disease, thanks to genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors.
Unfortunately, while oral health applications have made many advancements in recent years, they only reach some. But by launching a dental membership plan, your practice can have a hand in closing the gap.
Traditional Dental Insurance Isn't Cutting It
Over 77 million people in the U.S. lack dental coverage. Between the expansion of the gig economy and the lack of access to employer-sponsored benefits, patients need coverage. Including the individuals with incomes too low for subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but too high to be eligible for government assistance programs. In contrast, offices need more affordable options to offer patients to help them get the care they need.
Data reflects that:
- Patients without benefits visit the dentist 3 times less than insured patients
- Uninsured patients accept half of the treatment compared to those with insurance
- 75% of uninsured patients cite lack of coverage as the reason why they don't visit the dentist
Families are disadvantaged when they struggle to ensure their children have access to quality dental care. Smile Starters knew this problem well, so they turned to Kleer's advanced platform to help provide coverage to underserved children in North Carolina. Parents and guardians loved the simplicity of the sign-up process and the affordability of a Kleer-powered plan, resulting in better health outcomes for their children.
Kleer has partnered with hundreds of pediatric practices nationwide to help them increase production, attract new patients, and create reliable, recurring revenue.
Practices can leverage Kleer to:
- Connect families with fair and equitable access to dental care.
- Customize care plans based on patients' age range.
- Customize plan inclusions (e.g., fluoride, sealants).
- Automatically transition patients through plans as they grow.
- Optimize membership plan pricing with Kleer's SmartPricing™ feature.
- Create efficiencies through automation, practice management integration, and 1:1 support to free up time.
Access to Dental Care isn't Equal
Insurance isn't the only factor standing in the way of pediatric dental care. Race and ethnicity often play a role. A 2022 study from Pew finds that the prevalence of both treated and untreated tooth decay among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic, and Black third-graders is considerably higher than in their White classmates. The use of dental sealants to prevent decay tends to be lower in minority youth as well.
Geography is a major factor as well. Pew states that more than 64 million people in the U.S. live in areas with major dental shortages. That means that when parents in that population cannot easily access public transportation or get time off from work, their children struggle to receive necessary preventive care.
This provides an excellent opportunity for forward-thinking dental leaders to expand community access to care. For example, Fenton Family Dental leveraged the latest technology to offer extended hours and weekend appointments to accommodate all their patients.
Since implementing a Kleer-powered membership plan, Fenton Family Dental has reported improved patient satisfaction and loyalty. And when a parent feels comfortable with a practice, they'll feel at ease taking their children there to receive routine care.
Give Your Pediatric Patients the Kleer Advantage
As you know, a lack of access to dental care can impact children for the rest of their lives. By offering an affordable and convenient dental membership plan, your practice can help families fit dental care into their budgets and help kids have healthy smiles for life.
To learn more about Kleer, request your free 1:1 consultation.
- Improving Children's Oral Health
- Smile Starters Provides Affordable Pediatric Dental Coverage to Underserved Kids
- The Kleer Advantage
- Inequitable Access to Oral Health Care Continues to Harm Children of Color
- How Switching to Kleer Helped this Multi-Location Practice Improve Community Access to Care