"Trends and Determinants of Dental Care Utilization"

Chad D. Meyerhoefer, PHD

CE Credit hours:1

Despite widespread efforts by dental professionals, policy makers, and payers to inform consumers about the benefits of regular dental care, less than half of the population uses dental services annually. This lecture will cover several factors that affect the demand for dental care, including insurance benefit design, public policies instituted under the Affordable Care Act, and state laws that limit the scope of practice of dental hygienists. Empirical evidence will be presented to show how changes in these factors are expected to impact the demand for dental care now and in the future.

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

  • Understand basic determinants of the demand for dental care
  • Understand how the Affordable Care Act and state scope of practice laws affect dental care use and costs
  • Understand trade offs in dental insurance benefit design between increasing consumer welfare and limiting unnecessary care

CHAD D. MEYERHOEFER, PHD holds the Arthur F. Searing Professorship in the Department of Economics at Lehigh University and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Professor Meyerhoefer’s research focuses on the economics of health and nutrition, and the use of microeconometric methods to evaluate and inform public policy. His research on dental care involves estimating the demand for preventive and restorative dental services, forecasting rates of dental care use, and determining the impact of changes to scope of practice laws on access to dental services. He has published widely in outlets such as the Journal of Health Economics, Health Affairs, Information and Management, Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology, Pediatrics, and PharmacoEconomics. Prior to joining the faculty at Lehigh, Professor Meyerhoefer served as a research economist at The CNA Corporation and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.