Isn’t this time of year great? Well, besides the bone-chilling cold and incessant runny noses, that is. The beginning of January carries an aura of change, of new beginnings, and of fresh starts. This year, it’s more than just a feeling. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA for short, the faces of medical and dental health care are poised to change and lead to a more effective, integrated system of health services. Dr. Gilly Calcagno understands that the scope of the changes brought about by the ACA are vast, and can seem daunting to most patients. Below, she outlines the expected changes that the ACA could bring to your family’s dental health care*.
Required Coverage for Children
One of the most significant changes to dental health is the mandatory requirement for dental coverage for children under the age of 19 (dental coverage is not mandatory for adults). Beginning January 1, 2014, all individual and small group plans inside and outside of the healthcare exchange must be certified as “qualified health plans” that provide all “essential health benefits,” including pediatric oral health services. As of now, some states have interpreted the federal law to mean that essential pediatric dental services must only be offered on the exchange, but in individual and small group markets outside of the exchange, they must be purchased.
Will More Children Receive Benefits?
By including limited Medicaid program expansion along with markets inside and outside of the exchange, the ACA is expected to increase coverage for millions of Americans. Current projections estimate that approximately 8.7 million children could benefit from extensive dental coverage by the year 2018, with the increase split almost evenly between Medicaid, health insurance exchanges, and employer sponsored insurance.
Will More Adults Receive Benefits?
Although dental benefits aren’t mandated for adults as they are for children, about 17.7 million adults are still likely to gain some degree of dental coverage over the next several years. Since many states only offer limited or emergency Medicaid dental benefits, the amount of adults who will receive dental care through the federal program will be limited.
About Dr. Calcagno:
Dr. Gilly Calcagno is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Minnesota Dental Association, and is active in local dental implant study clubs. To schedule a consultation, or to learn more about how the ACA will affect your family’s dental care, call Calcagno Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry today at (507) 281-3659.
*Information and projections concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided by the American Dental Association.