Is Accessing Dental Care Becoming More Difficult? Evidence from Canada's Middle-Income Population

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To explore trends in access to dental care among middle-income Canadians. METHODS A secondary data analysis of six Canadian surveys that collected information on dental insurance coverage, cost-barriers to dental care, and out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care was conducted for select years from 1978 to 2009. Descriptive analyses were used to outline and compare trends among middle-income Canadians with other levels of income as well as national averages. RESULTS By 2009, middle-income Canadians had the lowest levels of dental insurance coverage (48.7%) compared to all other income groups. They reported the greatest increase in cost-barriers to dental care, from 12.6% in 1996 to 34.1% by 2009. Middle-income Canadians had the largest rise in out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care since 1978. CONCLUSIONS This study suggests that affordability issues in accessing dental care are no longer just a problem for the lowest income groups in Canada, but are now impacting middle-income earners as a consequence of their lack of, or decreased access to, comprehensive dental insurance.

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Ramraj, C., Sadeghi, L., Lawrence, H. P., Dempster, L., & Quiñonez, C. (2013). Is Accessing Dental Care Becoming More Difficult? Evidence from Canada’s Middle-Income Population. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057377

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