Covered California Postpones Adding Adult Dental Benefits
Covered California will not offer adult dental coverage for at least another year, despite its intention to sell such plans on the exchange in 2015, CHCF Center for Health Reporting/U-T San Diego reports.
The center is supported by a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline (Hellesen, CHCF Center for Health Reporting/U-T San Diego, 2/23).
In August 2014, the state's insurance exchange announced that it planned to offer optional family dental coverage as an add-on plan for an additional cost beginning in 2015.
In January 2014, the Covered California board of directors voted to require all children's health plans offered through the insurance exchange to include pediatric dental coverage as an essential health benefit beginning in 2015. The added family dental plan offerings approved last August were intended to provide coverage to adults.
Officials had said the adult dental plans would be available to consumers in early 2015 (California Healthline, 8/22/14).
Details of Delay
Officials said the exchange opted not to offer dental coverage to adults and families this year because of "challenges in aligning a family dental enrollment" with the current online registration system.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said, "We do not anticipate there will be adult dental added in 2015." Instead, he said the exchange will be "looking at that in 2016."
Exchange spokesperson Roy Kennedy said, "Covered California is confident the challenges can be overcome," adding, "We're committed to the family dental offering and it being an option for the 2016 plan year."
However, Jeff Album -- vice president of public and government affairs at Delta Dental, one of the companies that was planning to sell dental coverage through the exchange -- said the delay represents a "missed opportunity." Album added that the company had urged the exchange to "offer standalone pediatric and adult dental coverage from the very inception" of the Affordable Care Act (CHCF Center for Health Reporting/U-T San Diego, 2/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.