Credit crunch ruining the nation's teeth

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Credit crunch ruining the nation's teeth

  • 15% of the public cancel dental appointments due to cost1
  • Over 50s prioritise healthcare more than the younger generation

Over 15% of the UK public have cancelled a dental appointment due to cost, a new study2 by Saga Health Cash Plan has revealed. It appears routine healthcare is becoming a victim of the current economic climate, with over a quarter (27%) of Brits cancelling fee-based appointments.

The research reveals that the older generation is more aware of the importance of regular healthchecks than the younger generation, who are more likely to cancel appointments. One in ten (10%) over 50s have neglected dental check ups in the past 12 months compared to one in five (19%) under 50 year olds. This trend is reflected across all types of health appointments, including optical and physiotherapy appointments.

The average Brit expects to pay £96 a year on dental care and £124 on optical care, whilst the over 50s anticipate these costs to be higher, with £109 a year to be spent on dental and £131 on optical care. With some dental conditions costing up to £198 for a complex course of treatment on the NHS3 and almost certainly more when treated privately, it is clear that the expectations of yearly healthcare costs vary dramatically from that of the actual costs paid.

When added to other healthcare costs, it seems many people feel these bills are an unnecessary expense in a tough financial climate. Health cash plans, such as those offered by Saga, allow you to claim much of the cost back for everyday health expenses such as dental and optical costs. Customers can expect to pay as little as £16.504 per month for the standard cover.

Having a cash plans in place, for NHS and private patients alike, can make a visit to a health specialist less of a financial burden as the contributions it delivers means your treatments will not cost the earth. Over 40 per cent (42%) of people said they were more likely to go to the dentist if they had such a plan in place, and almost a quarter (23%) would also visit the optician more, as their financial worries are eased.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive, Saga Group, concluded: “Your health should always be a top priority and it is encouraging to see the over 50s recognise the importance of optimal health. Having a cash plan in place helps lift the financial burden of paying for treatment, as well as encouraging customers to make regular visits to health professionals.”


Editors notes:

1 This figure was calculated by taking 15% (number who have cancelled dental appointments) 48.77m (adult UK population) = 7.2 million.

2 Analysis carried out by Opinium Research with 2,009 online interviews with UK citizens between 28th to 30th April 2009.


4 For customers between 50 to 64 years of age selecting level 1 cover

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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