Rethinking pediatric dental coverage

By the CDHP team

Today, Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families (CCF) has released an issue brief on children's dental coverage that was co-written by CCF Executive Director Joan Alker and Colin Reusch, Senior Policy Analyst at the Children's Dental Health Project. The following blog article was written by Alker about the new issue brief. We have posted it here with CCF's permission:

This summer, a U.S. Senator called children’s dental health “a huge issue people simply don’t think about very often.”  Here at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families — and at the Children’s Dental Health Project — we think it is time to change that. Failure to identify, treat and prevent dental disease can result in extremely serious health problems for children and lead to long-term consequences by impairing children’s ability to eat, sleep and perform up to their potential in school.

That is why today we are releasing an issue brief, explaining 12 options federal and state policymakers should consider to strengthen the affordability of pediatric dental coverage and ensure that more young children receive oral health risk assessments.  The brief, entitled Fulfilling the Promise of Children’s Dental Coverage, is the second in the Georgetown University CCF series focused on the future of children’s coverage.

The brief offers 12 options to federal and state policymakers for improving the affordability of dental coverage and ensuring that more young kids receive risk assessments.

Fortunately, the IRS has already taken an important step toward embracing one of the brief's 12 policy options by issuing a proposed rule this summer that would change the way the Affordable Care Act's tax credits are calculated. This would enable all families to receive the full tax credits to which they should be entitled for dental coverage.

Tooth decay is the most chronic condition among children and teens, and it is largely preventable if addressed early in life. Sadly, children from low-income and minority families are disproportionately affected by tooth decay. Adopting these twelve policy options would help to address these inequities and create brighter smiles and futures for our nation’s children.

To learn more, please read the issue brief and its 12 policy options.

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Did you know?

44% }
of U.S. children will have at least one cavity by kindergarten.
More on the state of dental health ›