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A new dental insurance scheme - effects on the treatment provided and costs

Journal article
Authors Charlotte Andren Andås
Anna-Lena Östberg
P. Berggren
Magnus Hakeberg
Published in Swedish Dental Journal
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 57-66
ISSN 0347-9994
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 57-66
Language en
Keywords Dental insurance, capitation fee, prepaid dental care, fee-for-service reimbursement, CARE, MASCULINITY, GENDER, HEALTH, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
Subject categories Dentistry


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the revenues cover the costs in a pilot capitation plan, a dental insurance scheme, and to compare this capitation plan (CP) with the original fee-for-service system (FFS), in terms of the amount and type of dental care provided. Data was collected longitudinally over a period of three years from 1,650 CP patients in five risk groups at a test clinic, and from 1,609 (from the test clinic) and 3,434 (from a matched control clinic) FFS patients, in Goteborg, Sweden. The care investigated was the number of total treatments provided and the number of examinations by dentists and dental hygienists, together with preventive, restorative and emergency treatments. The economic outcome was positive from the administrator's perspective, in all risk groups for the three-year period. The amount and type of care provided differed between the payment models, as CP patients received more preventive treatments, less restorative treatments, and more examinations by dental hygienists than the FFS patients. Emergency treatment was performed more often on CP patients, and the difference was due to a higher frequency of such treatments among women in the CP group. The difference between clinics concerning certain treatment measures was sometimes greater than the difference between payment models. The results from this study indicate a net positive economic outcome for the pilot CP system over three years. The payment model and the clinic affiliation had impact on what type and amount of dental care the patients received. This might suggest that the risk of skewed selection and its consequences as well as the influence of clinic-specific practice need further investigation, to ensure economic sustainability in a longer perspective.

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