Unum UK finds 21% of employees avoided the dentist due to cost concerns in 2023

According to data collected by Unum UK, 21% (6.3mn) of employees avoided dental appointments in 2023 due to cost concerns.

Related topics:  Unum UK,  Dentistry
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
15th May 2024
"It's time for decisive action to prioritise oral health as an integral component of societal wellbeing."
- Clare Lusted, Head of Product Proposition at Unum UK

Unum UK says this figure demonstrates that the Cost-of-Living Crisis remains a key concern amongst employees, exasperating the significant financial barriers faced by those seeking essential healthcare. 

That figure is set to increase with the latest 4% rise in NHS dental charges in England, effective from 1st April 2024, and four in five dentists now only taking private patients. Last year, Unum UK experienced a 29% increase in dental payouts, exceeding £31mmn overall. This reflects what the Health and Social Care Committee, appointed by the House of Commons, described as a “crisis of access” to NHS dentistry; the committee recently called for “urgent and fundamental reform for people to receive the dental and oral healthcare they need.”

READ MORE: Unum reveals over 50% of Group CI claims were paid to policyholders aged 49 or younger in 2023

“Access to dentistry is a basic expectation, yet millions in the UK are facing barriers, be it financial or geographic, in obtaining oral healthcare. As the connection between oral health and overall wellbeing becomes increasingly evident, there is a growing imperative to prioritise preventative health services as a proactive strategy,” said Clare Lusted, Head of Product Proposition at Unum UK.

Earlier this year, Unum UK announced its latest partnership with Toothfairy, an award-winning digital dentistry provider. As of May 2024, Unum’s new (and renewing) dental policyholders will be granted access to Toothfairy, offering an entry point to high-quality dentistry services, support, and guidance for everyday preventative dental care and routine treatment.

READ MORE: Unum announce partnership with digital dentistry provider

“With initiatives like this leading the way in corporate dental insurance, there’s hope for a brighter future where individuals can access the oral care and support they need to thrive in the workplace. However, we urge the Government to ensure equitable access for all,” Clare concluded.

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