ACA open enrollment report neglects dental

By: Colin Reusch

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week released an update on Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment, noting that nearly 2.2 million Americans have selected health plans through the new health insurance marketplaces. Unfortunately, despite pediatric oral services being a critical piece of the essential health benefits under the ACA, HHS has yet to provide data on how many families have selected dental coverage for their children. 

The full report from the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) tracks marketplace plan selection from October through December 2013 and shows that children and adolescents (age 0-18) make up only about 6% of the total individuals who have selected health plan coverage but does not specify whether the health plans selected include pediatric dental coverage. The report does note that some individuals have enrolled in both a qualified health plan and a stand-alone dental plan but does not provide any further detail regarding the selection of dental coverage for children.

In addition to the various other complicating factors associated with pediatric dental benefits under the ACA, it is the only aspect of the essential health benefits that is often offered as a separate product from health coverage and is also optional to purchase when it is offered separately. To ensure that as many families as possible receive the full 10 essential health benefits, we hope to see HHS more closely track the uptake of pediatric dental coverage. 

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$38 }
Communities save $38 for every $1 spent to fluoridate public drinking water.
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