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EDITORIAL
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 263-264
 

Dental insurance: Boulevard for stakeholders


Principal, School of Dental Sciences, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (DU), Karad, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication18-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. N D Shashikiran
Principal, School of Dental Sciences, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (DU), Karad, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-4388.165645

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How to cite this article:
Shashikiran N D. Dental insurance: Boulevard for stakeholders. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2015;33:263-4

How to cite this URL:
Shashikiran N D. Dental insurance: Boulevard for stakeholders. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 11];33:263-4. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2015/33/4/263/165645











Oral health has direct implications on general health. Dental health is now quantified as equally important as any other health needs. Dentistry today provides diversified specialization in dental office to precisely meet the needs of every dental patient. However, immense advances in technology to ease protocols for both the dentist and patients have resulted in expensive dental treatments. So, with the increasing expenses it would be wise to have a dental insurance in supplement to general health insurance plan.

Why is it that in India the feasibility of dental insurance plans has not worked out at par with other general health insurance plans…? Why is it that dental treatment required due to an accident is covered but other treatments are generally not covered in India…? However, while going abroad; one makes sure that health insurance coverage includes dental health insurance as well in the plan. Dental health insurance is prioritized in the west whereas in India it is still in a very formative stage with only a handful of insurance companies providing this aid. Dental insurance is formulated to pay a fraction of the treatment cost. Those which provide do not encompass dental problems exclusively instead it is mainly the hospitalization and medicinal costs arising due to a dental emergency that are covered. However, such insurance plans in India can be availed in various forms like individual, family or group dental insurance plans as it suits best to individual's need. Dental Insurance plans can be further categorized as; Indemnity which enables a care seeker to see any dentist of choice who accepts this coverage, Preferred Provide Network dental plans (PPO) and Dental Health Managed Organizations where in one can visit the designated dentist or a dentist and/or dental office which falls within or outside the network respectively to avail dental care.

Failure so far to facilitate equal importance to Dental Insurance in India as to General Health Insurance could be attributed to the expenditure in dental treatment which is highly facultative and discretionary. Orthodontic treatment, bleaching treatment, esthetic corrections, etc., need not be mandatorily indicated but many chose to get it done. If these expensive treatments were to be insured, there would be a tremendous rise in the number of dental patients which will reflect directly on insurance costs. Another aspect is that the cost incurred by different dentists in different cities is variable and difficult to standardize. So, streamlining insurance policies to meet the needs of all types of treatment costs will require considerable efforts from insurance companies. However, a way out for the trouble could be to create a panel or network of dentists to be consulted by the insurance holder to utilize insurance benefits.

Lately, dental governing bodies like Indian Dental Association along with other concerned organizations had been taking stands to bring about exclusive dental health insurance programs into action. As the awareness regarding dental care has increased over time, there have been attempts to customize dental insurance plans to meet the aforementioned needs and to eliminate the shortcomings. A few dental care companies have jointly started working with renowned insurance providers to provide plans exclusively targeting dental health. Though rare to find, but these plans usually provide coverage for treatment protocols like tooth extraction, root canal treatment, etc.

With modern day dental advancements, state-of-art dental health facilities are available and everyone must have the opportunity to utilize it. And dental health insurance shall open the avenues to afford them. Though dental insurance is still establishing itself in India, the good news is that with increased interest in the sector, more and more insurance companies are providing dental health plans, either as standalone or as a part of general health plans. So, if you are looking for a dental health insurance cover, survey your options carefully and then decide whether you want an exclusive plan or not. Even if you are not looking for it, it is advisable that you opt for dental insurance.

Looking at the current scenario in the country approximately 50% of the population has probably never been to a dentist and approximately 65% population either lives with dental diseases or keeps dealing with it unless they become an emergency. It therefore, can be projected as an opening opportunity for a dentist as there is lot to be provided due to meagre dentist population ratio in India which is 1:10000 in urban areas and 1:250000 in rural areas. There is still huge lack of awareness that prevails in more than 50% of the population pertaining to dental health care facilities readily available. In addition to this, the lack of a good dental insurance plan is another big hurdle that curbs the dental fraternity from growing. A comprehensive dental insurance plan can ease out these problems to a great extent and bring dental care facility to every doorstep as an affordable commodity.

The conference looks for acumen generation in the delegates through the scientific sessions to improve the global oral health scenario. The upcoming 37 th Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (ISPPD) conference themed "PedoArt - Canvas for your imagination" to be held on 8 th -10 th October 2015 at Raipur, Chhattisgarh would provide ideal platform for academicians, clinical practitioners, students to interact with the stalwarts from the field pediatric dentistry. I wish all the best to the ISPPD and organizing committee for the upcoming colloquium and hope the delegates will be able to imbibe some fruitful and enjoyable moments of this congregation.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.




 

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