Integrated Medical/Dental Plans offer a Low Cost Health Insurance Alternative
Aetna, one of the nation's largest providers of medical insurance and dental insurance is now combining the two products for its members in a lower cost health insurance alternative called Dental Medical Integration (DMI).
Aetna has long seen the value of dental insurance, and by offering those of its members who already have a medical insurance policy the dental benefits at no additional charge they hope to get more of their policy holders to see the long-term overall health benefits of good oral care. Said an Aetna Spokesperson, "Our goal in automatically including the Aetna Dental/Medical Integration program in eligible dental plans is to educate members on the importance of regular care and help avoid potential costs and risks that could negatively impact a person's overall well-being"
Individual policy holders and employer groups with Aetna qualify for the integrated pricing approach. The consolidation of policies not only offers policy holders more affordable health insurance, but it allows them, their medical practitioners, and the insurance company to get a quicker and more accurate snapshot of their health.
Medical and Dental professionals alike now recognize the effect on overall well being of poor oral health. And the link between certain disease states, gum disease and other oral health issues has been long known. By combining the polices into streamlined claims, Aetna is able to get a clearer picture of those who are most at risk and greatest need for preventive care. One of the enhanced benefits of the DMI health insurance program is more outreach and emphasis on preventive care. It was discovered during a pilot study of the program using such targeted outreach methods 63 percent of those at-risk policy holders who had not been to the dentist in the last year sought dental care.
The improved benefits in the affordable health insurance initiative include payments for extra dental cleanings, and increased coverage for various periodontal services.
A study conducted by The Columbia College School of Dentistry found that those at high risk for periodontal disease that sought treatment early, significantly reduced the severity of their conditions, required less invasive and less prolonged treatments, and therefore overall reduced their healthcare bills. Aetna used the result of that study in part as the rational for implementing the DMI program.
According to the American Dental Association offering affordable dental health insurance makes good sense from a health as well as economic point of view. One only has to see that one of the more common reasons for employee absences or poor job performance is dental disease or mouth pain to realize that. And it has been shown time and time again that those without Dental Insurance are more likely to put off dental visits until conditions are at their worst which usually leads to even more days taken off work due to discomfort or more extensive treatments.