The authors examine the relationship of dental care coverage, retirement, and utilization in an aging population using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS).
The authors estimate dental care use as a function of dental care coverage status, retirement, and individual and household characteristics. They also estimate a multivariate model controlling for potentially confounding variables.
The authors show that that the loss of income and dental coverage associated with retirement may lead to lower use rates but this effect may be offset by other unobserved aspects of retirement including more available free time leading to an overall higher use rate.
The authors conclude from this study that full retirement accompanied by reduced income and dental insurance coverage produces lower utilization of dental services. However, they also show that retirement acts as an independent variable, whereas income, coverage, and free time (unobserved) act as intervening variables.