Reports 2017/42

Expenses for dental treatment 2014-2016

A socioeconomic analysis of adult recipients of national insurance reimbursements

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In general, the adult population aged 21 years and older needs to pay for its dental examinations and treatment. Nevertheless, National Insurance provides full or partial financial support for people with special needs in relation to dental treatment, according to the National Insurance Act § 5-6. In 2016, there were 15 different disorders and diseases stated, so-called activation thresholds, which gave a right to reimbursement under the National Insurance Act. These dental reimbursements should ideally be distributed based on the needs of the patient, regardless of education or income. However, analyzes have shown that the incidence and extent of refunds in the adult population may vary according to socioeconomic and regional characteristics, which in principle shall not affect the patient's rights to reimbursement.

The aim of the report is to provide a socio-economic analysis of people who received dental reimbursements in 2016, both in total and for various diseases and disorders (activation thresholds). In addition, the report also studies the development in the number of recipients and paid amounts of reimbursements in the period 2014-2016.

Results from the descriptive analysis show that 12.1 percent of the adult population received reimbursements for dental surgeries in 2016. In total, NOK 1.63 billion was paid in reimbursements. The average paid reimbursement amount was NOK 3 384, but approximately 50% of the patients receive between 0 and 1 500 NOK in reimbursement. The results show that the extent of reimbursements varies in different age groups. Different needs of treatment in different age groups are an important reason for this. The results also show that there are socioeconomic and regional differences between recipients of dental reimbursements. The proportion of dental reimbursements is higher among beneficiaries and among people with low education than in the rest of the population. In addition, the proportion of recipients is higher among people living in more central areas, which may indicate that dentistry coverage is of importance for receiving reimbursements. Regarding development trends in 2014-2016, the results show that the proportion of recipients has increased, while the average paid amounts have decreased. The results of the descriptive analysis are presented in Chapters 4-8.

Quantitative analysis (logistic regression) investigates statistical significance between dental reimbursement recipes and characteristics of the population. The results of the logistic regression analyzes show that the likelihood of receiving dental reimbursements varies greatly with age. The likelihood of receiving reimbursements increases with increasing age, but falls slightly in the oldest age groups. The likelihood of receiving reimbursements also increases if you are a beneficiary, have low education and not have a low income. The results of the quantitative analysis are presented in Chapter 9.

Since there is no information about dental health, the use of dental care services and the unmet need for dental services, it is impossible to assess whether the proportion of refunds received in different socio-economic and regional groups corresponds to the actual needs of dental treatment in these groups. Higher average refunds per person in groups with low socioeconomic status and among people living in less central areas, nevertheless indicates that need for treatment is higher in these groups than in the adult population in total.

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