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Treating Gum Disease Can Lower Medical Costs for Individuals with Cerebrovascular Disease

April 30, 2013

During American Stroke Month in May, United Concordia Dental, one of the nation's largest dental insurers, reminds adults with cerebrovascular disease, or stroke, that treating their gum disease can help lower health care costs.

"Recent findings from our landmark oral health study show that annual medical costs are lower by more than $1,000 for individuals with cerebrovascular disease who are treated for gum disease," said James Bramson , D.D.S., chief dental officer for United Concordia. "Plenty of research exists that shows good oral health can impact overall health; however, this study reveals the financial implications associated with treating - or not treating - dental disease."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke and heart disease accounted for more than $313.8 billion in health care spending nationally in 2009. In March 2013, United Concordia released study findings that showed annual reductions in health care costs of $1,029 and $2,956 are possible for individuals with stroke or heart disease, respectively, who are treated for gum disease.

"Those findings are part of a study we conducted of more than 1.7 million patients," said Dr. Bramson. "When you look at the savings our study identifies on multiple conditions - diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, stroke and heart disease - it is clear our new wellness program, UCWellness, can help encourage good oral health, overall wellness and savings in the long run."

UCWellness is the first dental program to integrate a member engagement and education component, as well as 100 percent coverage for periodontal surgery benefits that members need to treat their disease. In March 2012, United Concordia introduced the program, offering benefits for individuals with diabetes. Starting July 1, 2013, United Concordia will expand the diseases covered by this program to include stroke, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as women who are pregnant.

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