Health Reform Proposals Aim To Boost Coverage for Kids’ Dental Care
All of the major health care reform bills currently under debate in Congress would boost coverage for pediatric dental care, but dental experts worry that adult dental coverage could suffer, Kaiser Health News reports.
Each bill requires a government-sponsored insurance exchange to help consumers obtain children's dental benefits. The House reform bill also calls for the private insurance market and employer-sponsored plans to guarantee access to pediatric dental coverage.
Although the bills initially required health plans to offer the dental insurance, lawmakers amended the Senate Finance Committee bill to allow stand-alone dental insurers to provide that coverage.
According to KHN, legislation in the House also was amended to include such an amendment (Marcy, Kaiser Health News, 10/13). The San Francisco Chronicle reports that none of the House bills include such aÂ provision (Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/14).
Experts say it is unclear whether such provisions will remain in final versions of the legislation.
Effect on Adult Dental Coverage
Although the current health reform plans aim to improve access to pediatric dental care, they do not require insurers to offer adult dental coverage.
Currently, about 44% of employers that offer health benefits also contribute to dental coverage, according to a 2008 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Some experts predict that a proposal to tax so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans would spur such insurers to drop their dental coverage in order to keep premiums below the tax cutoff level.In addition, some parents might be reluctant to purchase dental insurance for themselves if their children already have dental coverage (Kaiser Health News, 10/13). 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.