Health and Spending


I remember growing up in Highland, Utah. I got a job working graveyard shift at a gas station. This particular gas station was a hangout for teenagers and young adults. Sadly, one of the more popular purchases was cigarettes. I worked behind a counter and the cigarettes were stored in a cabinet that hung above the cash registers. The shift ended at 6 a.m., and I couldn't believe that every single time I ended a shift, my company-issued t-shirt would reek of cigarettes, just from pulling the unopened packs from above my head and selling them. It is tragic that so many young people my age were allowing themselves to develop such a destructive habit!

Spending that is Destructive to your Health
Our habits shape and define most of our life. We all know that smoking is a terrible habit that has destructive effects on our oral health, not to mention our overall health of mind and body. So many people will sacrifice their future and pay $5 a pack (or more)! I recently stopped at a convenience store and noticed that many of the patrons are in a habit of spending a daily amount on coffee, on cigarettes, on a soda or energy drink, a lottery ticket, and sweets and snacks. For many of us, any one of these could turn into a very unhealthy habit.

I wonder how much people are spending on other things that contribute to poor health, for example: excessive television, internet, or cell phone use. I've seen several articles in the news that say that cell phone addiction is on the rise. 95% of teens in this country have cell phones!

Spending on Health in America
The NHEA (National Health Expenditure Accounts) estimates that the average spending on health in the United States is $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 a person. Just for medical insurance premiums, the average a patient must pay for their own health insurance premiums is $321 a year per person. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, because of deductibles, limits, co-pays, not to mention supplements, diets, gym memberships or exercise programs.

Spending on Dentistry
There are those who are lucky enough to have health insurance through their employer. Most dental insurance plans will cover your basic cleaning and exam at no cost to you! Turns out that 33% of adults with dental benefits do not have a single claim within a year! That means that a full 1/3 of patients with dental insurance don't bother to even get an exam or cleaning. Not taking advantage of those benefits is just letting them go to waste.

At PV Dentistry we found that we can cover your basic exams, cleanings and x-rays for an entire year for only $20 a month! That is less than $1 a day. This will cover your basic preventative services, which for every patient should include a minimum of two exams and two cleanings, with appropriate x-rays. These visits are crucial to maintaining your oral health.

I also have a secret to share. If I never had to do another filling, crown or extraction I would be thrilled! When I was in my early 20s, I heard a dentist say that "we should be trying to put ourselves out of business." What did he mean by that? As dentists, we should be emphasizing health, hygiene and prevention to our patients so they can avoid these types of restorative procedures. For this very reason, we decided that our membership program at $20 a month would also give you access to discounts on dentistry. If you are willing to show up and put the time in for your cleanings and exams, we'll help you save on the other dental costs that sometimes come up.

If you have further thoughts or ideas on healthcare spending, I'd love to hear them!

Written by: Harold Henderson, DDS April 25, 2019

« Back