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The Rising Costs of Dental Care

Some dental offices offer financing.

Crazy as it sounds, "Medical inflation is back, besting managed care at the very thing it was supposed to solve."

From 1994 through 1998, premiums rose an average of 2 percent per year. Initially, managed care was able to control the rise in premiums by cutting payments to doctors and hospitals. But the medical community fought back by refusing to accept more payment cuts. Unable to control the rebellion, managed care has responded by raising premiums and forcing the policyholders to absorb the rising costs.

But some experts argue the responsibility is right where it belongs. "Right now, we spend more on admissions to entertainment events than for prescription drugs per capita," says Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt. Indeed, many policy experts believe the next evolution in health care is likely to focus on ways to get consumers to pay more of the cost of medical and dental care, with employers playing a main role in shifting costs to workers.

The trouble is how is the average American going to afford the increase? One thing is certain, the cost of health care is on the rise and no one really knows how to contain it. As our aging population demands expensive new medications, sophisticated treatment and elaborate equipment, we can anticipate an economic strain unlike ever before. Many experts agree we are in the same mess as 10 years ago, only this time, things may be much worse.

Bottom line: health care is expensive. There will always be those that can afford dental treatments and those that cannot. We are fortunate to live in a country that has government programs helping the less fortunate. But it goes much deeper than the "haves" and the "have nots." What about the "I have, but I don't want to spend."

And there's the dilemma. Should we buy season tickets to see our favorite football team or have that much-needed gall bladder operation? While this may sound silly, it has very real implications for the future. Consumers may have to begin making some hard choices about where to spend their money. No longer will they be able to rely on their employer's insurance to cover all their medical and dental costs.

Americans spend huge sums of money on everything from entertainment to transportation. Perhaps its time to re-prioritize. Dental braces for the kids may have to come before the new SUV. It's a fact of life that's unfolding right before our eyes. We're going to have to start spending our disposable income on things that aren't so fun.

Luckily, as the insurance system evolves, so is the health care industry. Instead of financing that new car, you can now finance your surgery. Health care financial institutions are easing the transition to consumer-paid procedures. By utilizing tools like the Internet, good financing companies can offer patients financing with revolving credit lines in a matter of seconds. Americans will begin to finance health care in the same way that they finance their cars and homes.

Unfortunately, expensive health care is the wave of the future. Yes, consumers will have to start making difficult decisions about how to spend their money. But at least with financing tailored to health care, the sticker shock won't be overwhelming.

It's never too late to improve your dental health. Call us at 1-866-970-0441 to find the right dentist for you!

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