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What does the ACA mean for your child's dental care?
Updated: 1/29/2013 12:00:03 PM
 

By now, you hopefully already know that while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help provide you with medical insurance, it will not cover dental care for adults. This is why you need to continue to look into discount dental plans and other options that will help you pay for necessary dental work. However, the ACA does aim to help more children gain access to dental insurance, but you need to understand exactly what this means and whether it will affect your child. 

According to Kaiser Health News, starting in 2014, the government will require that individual and small-group health plans that are purchased either through private companies or state-based health insurance exchanges must cover pediatric dental care. However, that doesn't mean that every child will instantly be covered come 2014. 

Things to look out for
Kaiser Health News noted that many insurance plans will be grandfathered in under the new law and will not have to offer coverage to children. Furthermore, the requirement does not apply to health plans offered by large companies, so you may need to check to make sure that your plan has a dental option for your children. 

Also, people who purchase dental coverage for their whole families on one of the ACA exchanges may find themselves still paying a hefty price. For example, families who buy dental coverage on an exchange may find themselves paying an annual out-of-pocket cost-sharing limit of up to $1,000 for dental work. 

"That would be on top of whatever out-of-pocket limit people are already facing [for medical coverage]," Colin Reusch, senior policy analyst at the Children's Dental Health Project, told Kaiser Health News. Reusch co-authored a recent report on the health law's pediatric dental benefit. "We see that as being in conflict with what the law intends."

Still, the American Dental Association estimates that 3 million children will gain access to dental coverage under the ACA. Furthermore, the law will hopefully provide increased funds for school-based health center facilities and public education programs that stress the importance of dental health. 

You shouldn't wait until 2014 to get dental coverage for your family when there are many affordable options available now. For example, discount dental plans can help you gain access to a wide network of dentists who are willing to work at a price you can afford, so look into these options before you or your children run into a pricey dental issue. 

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