United Healthcare’s Medical Dental Integration Study
“United Healthcare’s Medical Dental Integration Study consisted of 130, 546 UnitedHealthcare commercial dental and medical members between the ages of 18 and 65. Compliance and disease categorization, as determined through EBM, was based on claims data for the twelve month period ending 5/31/2011. Calendar year 2010 medical and pharmacy claim data for each member is included. Dental claims incurred between 5/1/2008 and 4/30/2011 was used to assign each member to a dental treatment pattern grouping. Cost has been normalized using age and sex factor and area factor for each ETG.”
“Overall, total medical costs were considerably lower for individuals with chronic medical conditions who received periodontal treatment or cleanings within the timeframe of this study even when considering the costs of additional dental treatments. Net savings were realized, irrespective of medical compliance. However, savings were substantially greater ($1,849) for non-medically compliant individuals than they were for individuals who were compliant with their medical condition ($264). Savings for individuals receiving preventive dental care were observed across all chronic medical disease categories in this study. Conversely, members receiving extractions, root canals, restorative treatments and no preventive or periodontal treatment had the highest health care spend, demonstrating a potential link between the lack of a preventive dental pattern and overall medical costs.
In this study, savings from preventive treatment for many of the chronic conditions were primarily driven by cleanings. An exception was observed for diabetics, where periodontal treatment, specifically non-surgical periodontal, had the lowest medical cost of any other dental treatment group.”