March 23, 2012, 1:30 p.m. EDT
Treatment for Gum Disease Can Lower Medical Costs for People With Diabetes
United Concordia Dental offers innovative program in response to study findings
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Medical costs are lower for people with diabetes who receive treatment for gum disease, according to a study presented today to the American Association for Dental Research by Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat of the University of Pennsylvania. The study was done in collaboration with United Concordia Dental and Highmark Inc.
“The study showed that periodontal treatment and ongoing maintenance is associated with a for people with diabetes – in the amount of $1,800 per year,” said James Bramson, D.D.S., chief dental officer for United Concordia. “The findings also showed that hospitalizations decreased by 33 percent and physician visits by 13 percent across the entire study population of diabetics when gum disease is treated and managed afterward.” Findings related to pharmacy costs in the study population will be released in the near future.
– a number that has more than doubled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is really a landmark study because of its size and three-year duration. These numbers clearly demonstrate the importance of the study’s findings for people with diabetes, as well as the can have on the rising medical costs associated with diabetes,” said. Dr. Bramson.
F.G. Merkel, United Concordia president and chief operating officer, said the dental insurer and its parent company, Highmark Inc., funded the study by Professor and Dean Emeritus Marjorie Jeffcoat, D.M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine, because of United Concordia’s increasing concern with the importance of oral health on overall health and to underscore both companies’ commitment to wellness.
“The study points to the ability to lower medical costs among patients with diabetes through appropriate dental care,” said Merkel. “Because of what we now know, United Concordia is introducing a group product that provides additional coverage for treatment of periodontal disease for members with diabetes. We believe that when their employees with diabetes receive appropriate periodontal care.”
As a result of the study’s findings, United Concordia will offer UCWellness, a disease-specific program that provides following periodontal treatment, certain surgical procedures that treat gum disease and removal of plaque and tartar in patients with gum disease. An important component of UCWellness is targeted education geared toward covered members with diabetes.
“What makes UCWellness different than others on the market is the enhanced surgical benefit we are offering,” said Merkel. “United Concordia is the first to offer this type and level of coverage to people with diabetes.”
“A considerable amount of literature exists pointing to an ,” said Dr. Jeffcoat. “The number of individuals’ data in this study makes it the largest of its kind and is clinically significant in my opinion.”
The information being released related to diabetes is the first in a series of findings which will demonstrate that appropriate dental treatment and maintenance can actually help lower medical costs for individuals with certain medical conditions.
“We hope these additional findings will show medically related cost savings as well. What’s clear now is that appropriate dental treatment and maintenance for diabetics can predict lower medical costs,” said Dr. Bramson.
The University of Pennsylvania study analyzed data over a three-year period from nearly 1.7 million individuals with United Concordia dental and Highmark medical coverage. It focused on determining if dental cleanings and/or treatment of gum disease would decrease the cost of medical care in patients who have diabetes. The study will also analyze other chronic diseases and conditions, such as .
Dr. Jeffcoat presented the diabetes findings today to more than 2,500 attendees at the American Association for Dental Research annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. United Concordia expects to release the finding for the other diseases and conditions when the analysis is complete and will use the information to help employers drive down group benefit costs.
To learn more about the UCWellness program and the connection between diabetes and oral health, visit UCCI Home Page .
About United ConcordiaUnited Concordia is a leading national dental carrier and delivers high-quality, cost-effective dental programs. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., the company has more than 8 million members, a network of more than 76,000 dentists at over 163,000 access points nationwide and is licensed in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. United Concordia has a companywide dedication and commitment to superior customer service, which is evident in the design, implementation, administration and servicing of its dental benefits programs.
SOURCE: United Concordia Dental