20 dental groups to Congress: extend CHIP through 2019

By the CDHP team

When 20 diverse dental organizations sound the alarm about the need for federal action, we trust that Congress will take heed. This sign-on letter to Senate Finance committee leader Orrin Hatch and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton outlines our concern about the specific vulnerability of dental benefits if the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is allowed to expire in September. We invite you to share language from the letter and carry the message that 10 million children and pregnant women need the security of a clean four-year CHIP extension through 2019.

As we've pointed out: "Children that would transition into the new health insurance marketplaces if CHIP were to end will not automatically be enrolled in comprehensive dental coverage. Additionally, families that select either a medical plan that includes pediatric dental coverage, or a medical plan and a separate dental plan, will be exposed to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs compared to CHIP. While families will be offered dental coverage via the marketplaces, most will not have the appropriate subsidy to help them pay for that coverage."

Cost matters, so where does that leave kids?

Cost matters, so where does that leave kids? The Urban Institute projects that 1.1 million children could become uninsured without CHIP. That number could rise dramatically depending on Supreme Court's action in King v. Burwell. (Today's Washington Post captures that point as well.) Those predictions don't take a dental-specific lens, but we know that families might forgo the purchase of pediatric dental coverge due to cost concerns. 

Families need a four-year extension of CHIP. That's why we, and leading children's and industry groups are united in saying to Congress, this is a bipartisan issue: extend CHIP funding now through 2019. 

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Children with poor oral health were nearly 3x more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
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