Dental Health: The Burden on Households – Implications for National Health Insurance
Author: Guy Navon, Dov Chernichovsky
May 12, 2011
Household expenditure on dental health care in Israel is regressive. The Israeli household stands before a dilemma: whether to forgo medical care, in most cases for children and the elderly, or to forgo some other need in order to pay for dental care.
Expenditure on private insurance is common amongst a very low percentage of households and primarily in the higher income quintiles. While it improves their situation it also serves to widen inequalities in access to treatment as well as income disparities and general demand. The lowest income quintiles cope with the expenditures for routine dental care – which represent some 7% of their overall household expenditure when they need treatment and especially treatment for children – and they are not able to deal with expensive treatments related to surgeries or reconstruction. The lowest two quintiles almost completely forgo dental health treatments.
The study recommends a process for including dental health care in National Health Insurance, with the required budgetary back-up that will be required. This process is likely to bring real relief in the medium and long-range in terms of an improvement in dental health in Israel and a savings in national expenditure for dental health.
*Publication only in Hebrew.