The Affordable Care Act’s Affect On Dental Insurance
If you’ve been an American citizen of working age for at least the past 2 years then you’ve probably heard of the Affordable Care Act, more widely known as “Obamacare.” In a nutshell the new legislation is the US Government’s latest attempt at Universal Healthcare, or “health insurance for everyone.” While much has been said about the pros and cons of this plan from politicians, business owners and workers across the nation, not much has been discussed on how the new laws apply to dental insurance. This article will help answer some of the more common questions related to dental coverage and the ACA.
In a recent interview by Arkansas Business Magazine President and CEO of Delta Dental Ed Choate chimed in on the affects he expects the Affordable Care Act will have on dental insurance in the years ahead. It’s worth noting that Mr. Choate was named the Arkansas Business Executive of the Year in 2006 and a Distinguished Alumnus at Southern Arkansas University in 2007. He has also completed executive training courses at Harvard and Stanford University.
Regarding how the ACA will affect employers nationwide, Mr. Choate had this to say: “Beginning in 2014 most small groups & individuals will be required to own dental insurance for their children. The ACA provides the option to buy pediatric dental coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If buying in the private market they must choose a plan with all 10 Essential Health Benefits which includes pediatric coverage. As a result more children in Arkansas will have dental care.”
Mr. Choate went on to describe how Delta Dental is adjusting their current lineup of plans to meet the new requirements. “One of our biggest challenges is keeping our dental providers, brokers and customers educated about the ACA changes and how the changes may affect each of them. We will provide communication through our corporate website, social media and traditional correspondence.”
There are many advancements coming to the dental insurance industry as a result of the Affordable Care Act. One of which is developing risk-based plans for employers which would take into account an individual’s risk for dental diseases while providing customized patient plans. For example, individuals at higher risk would be allowed three or more yearly cleanings as a preventative measure.
An often overlooked part of the dental industry being affected by Obamacare is orthodontics. This is most often the case as many orthodontic procedures and treatments are not usually covered by standard dental insurance plans. This is why private orthodontic offices like Patel Carden Beaches Orthodontics in Jacksonville Beach offer payment plans and financing through partners like Chase Bank. As the industry begins to change the hope is that more orthodontic treatments will be covered by insurance. Why? Because the popular misconception is that braces only correct cosmetic issues with the teeth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. By ensuring the teeth and jaws line up properly and that teeth spacing is appropriate for a patient’s mouth, orthodontists help prevent innumerable dental and health issues with braces including reducing the risk of heart disease.