Demand for and utilization of dental services among Hong Kong employees with and without dental benefit coverage

Frankie Hon Ching So, Eli Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The objectives of the present study were to investigate the effects of employer-provided dental benefits on the pattern of demand for and utilization of dental services among Hong Kong employees and to analyse whether employees' awareness about an existing dental benefit programme influenced their dental service demand and utilization. Staff from 11 selected companies with and without dental benefits responded to questionnaires concerning their personal factors, demand for dental services, and utilization of dental services and about their awareness of their dental benefit coverage. Overall response rate was 67%. The socio-demographic characteristics of those respondents who were covered and those who were not were similar. Forty per cent of the covered respondents were not aware of their dental benefit coverage, so analysis was performed with three groups of respondents, covered and aware, covered and unaware, and uncovered. A larger proportion of employees in the "aware" group had visited a dentist in the previous 12 months and had visited a dentist for asymptomatic reasons. The "aware" group reported more "low expenditure" items and less "high expenditure" items. Those who were aware of their dental benefit coverage irrespective of the type of scheme reported a significantly higher demand than those who were not aware of their coverage. Demand and utilization of the covered, but unaware, group was more similar to the uncovered group than to the "aware" group. Coverage per se had no apparent effect on the demand for dental services. Further studies will be necessary to establish that higher dental care demand and utilization induced by third party schemes also leads to improved oral health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity dentistry and oral epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996



  • Dental care
  • Dental health surveys
  • Economics, dental
  • Health services research
  • Insurance, dental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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