OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship of dental care coverage, retirement, and out-of-pocket (OOP) dental expenditures in an aging population, using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).
METHODS: We estimate OOP dental expenditures among individuals who have dental utilization as a function of dental care coverage status, retirement, and individual and household characteristics. We also estimate a multivariate model controlling for potentially confounding variables.
RESULTS: Overall, mean OOP dental expenditures among those with any spending were substantially larger for those without coverage than for those with coverage. However, controlling for coverage shows that there is little difference in spending by retirement status.
CONCLUSIONS: Although having dental coverage is a key determinant of the level of OOP expenditures on dental care; spending is higher among those without coverage than those who have dental insurance. We also found that while retirement has no independent effect on OOP dental expenditures once controlling for coverage, dental coverage rates are much lower among retirees.