Dental Care Demand: Point Estimates and Implications for National Health Insurance.

by Willard G. Manning, Charles E. Phelps

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Estimates demand curves for various dental services and the aggregate number of dental visits, using a national probability sample of households drawn in 1970. Price elasticities for dental visits range from -0.7 (for white males) to -1.4 (for white children), and income elasticities range from 0.6 to 0.9. Price elasticities grow larger as income rises, so that large price reductions through national health insurance would disproportionately increase the demands of higher income groups. Using the estimated demand curves and several assumptions about distributions of medical and dental expenses, it is estimated that aggregate dental demand would increase by 11 percent if children alone were provided dental insurance coverage with a 25 percent coinsurance rate and a $150 per person deductible applying to both medical and dental expenses. 57 pp. Bibliog.

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