Factors associated with disparities in out-of-pocket expenditure on dental care: Results from two cross-sectional national surveys

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Background: Socioeconomic differences in oral health and dental care utilization are a persistent problem in many high-income countries. We evaluated demographic, geographic and socioeconomic factors associated with disparities in households' out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) on dental care, and the effect of ongoing dental health reform on these disparities. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used data collected in two Israeli Household Expenditure Surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018. OOPE for dental care was estimated using a two-part multivariable model. A logistic regression was used to examine the likelihood of reporting any OOPE, and a log-transformed linear regression model examined the level of expenditure among those who reported any OOPE. Results: In 2018, OOPE on dental care accounted for 22% of total health expenditure for all households, whereas among those who reported dental OOPE it reached 43%. Households with children up to age 14 years reported lower OOPE, regardless of ownership of supplementary health insurance. Owning supplementary health insurance had a heterogeneous effect on the level of OOPE, with a significant increase among those with 0-8 years of education, compared to households without such insurance, but not among those of higher educational level. In 2014, Arab ethnic minority and residence in the country periphery were associated with a greater likelihood for any OOPE and higher amounts of OOPE on dental care. While the gaps between Jewish and Arab households persisted into 2018, those between peripheral and non-peripheral localities seem to have narrowed. Conclusions: The burden of dental OOPE on Israeli households remains heavy and some disparities still exist, even after the implementation of the dental health reform. Expanding the dental health reform and addressing barriers to preventive dental care, especially among Arabs and those of lower educational level, may help in reducing households' private expenses on dental care.




Orenstein, L., Chetrit, A., Oberman, B., Benderly, M., Benderly, M., Kalter-Leibovici, O., & Kalter-Leibovici, O. (2020). Factors associated with disparities in out-of-pocket expenditure on dental care: Results from two cross-sectional national surveys. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13584-020-00387-0

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