Health Policy

Predictors of dental use for low-income, urban elderly persons upon removal of financial barriers.

Strayer, M.S.; Kuthy, R.A.; Caswell, R.J.; Moeschberger, M.L.
1997 Feb


This study examines a low-income, urban elderly population of dental and medical, nondental users. A total of 1,378 medical, nondental users and 2,086 dental users were identified using longitudinal claims data (1983-1992) from a Medicare-waiver program that reimbursed for health care services at cost. Dental users were more likely to be from a younger age cohort (born after 1910, p = .0001) and were more likely to be black (63.3% vs 35.7%, P = .0001) than medical, nondental users. Medical, nondental users had more medical visits (p = .0001), higher medical and pharmacy charges (p = .0001), and more prescriptions (p = .0001) than did the dental users. These findings indicate that among this population of urban elderly, dental users were more likely to be black and have lower medical utilization than nondental users.