Fewer Than Half of Farm, Ranch Families in Great Plains States Have Dental Coverage, Survey Finds
Forty-two percent of farm and ranch families in seven Great Plains states have dental insurance, compared with the national rate of 60%, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Access Project, Kansas Health Institute News reports. For the study, researchers at the not-for-profit group surveyed farm and ranch families in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The study found that the families on average paid $873 in out-of-pocket costs for dental care per year, more than the $700 average annual cost for prescription drugs. The study also found many farm and ranch families purchase individual, non-group health coverage, which often does not include dental benefits.
Study co-author Carol Pryor said that there is growing awareness about how health care costs comprise a large part of many families' expenses, but "little attention has been paid to the contribution of dental expenses to these financial burdens." Pryor added that the study and previous research "make it clear" that expanding dental coverage should be a part of the national debate on health reform (McLean, KHI News, 4/29).
The report is available online.