Today, more and more people pay attention to dental insurance! I would like to talk something about dental insurance for some American children.
The states of California and Washington will require people who buy medical insurance through new health plan exchanges to also buy pediatric dental benefits regardless of whether they have children, according to official documents and interviews.
The new requirements will kick in on January 1, 2014, as part of the states' implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Together the 2 states are offering some of the first responses to a conundrum embedded in the new law: Although the law requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty, it exempts dental benefits from this "individual mandate." However, it lists pediatric oral health services among the 10 "essential benefits" that health plans must include when sold to small groups, such as businesses with 50 or fewer employees, and to individuals. In addition, it allows dental plans to be sold separately from medical plans in state health insurance exchanges that the law sets up.
The California exchange will also offer optional adult dental benefits.
The Washington Health Care Authority has posted documents suggesting it will take a similar approach. "It was noted that families and individuals enrolling through the Exchange will be required to shop separately and select a pediatric dental plan," according to notes from a September 28, 2012, meeting.
The act is also unclear about whether stand-alone pediatric dental benefits sold to small-group customers outside the exchanges can meet the requirements of the act; one interpretation of the law is that pediatric benefits must be folded into medical plans when the plans are sold in the small-group market outside the exchanges.
There is no requirement that large groups, such as businesses with more than 50 employees, include pediatric oral health benefits, although many already offer such dental plans.