Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2008
Among approximately 172 million persons under age 65 years with private health insurance:
The majority of persons (73%) had some type of dental coverage. However, approximately 45 million persons had no dental coverage.
About 8 out of 10 persons with employment-based private health insurance had dental coverage compared with about 3 out of 10 persons with directly purchased insurance.
Non-Hispanic black persons were more likely to have dental insurance than non-Hispanic white persons, non-Hispanic Asian persons, or Hispanic persons.
As income level increased, the percentage having dental insurance increased.
A primary indicator of access to dental care in the United States is dental insurance. Previous studies have shown that persons with private dental insurance have more dental visits in the previous year than persons without private dental insurance (1). There are federal and state assistance programs for dental care but they are limited. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requires states to provide limited dental coverage for enrolled children up to age 19 (2). The Medicaid program requires states to provide limited dental services for most Medicaid-eligible individuals under the age of 21, but there is no assistance to provide dental services to individuals aged 21 and over (3). This report analyzes dental insurance status for persons under age 65 years who have private health insurance because of the limited or nonexistent public coverage for dental care.