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One aspect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the improvement of dental coverage for children. Advocates who support better dental care for children were successful in their push to incorporate child dental and vision services into the law's 10 categories of essential benefits. This was partially prompted by the 2007 death of an uninsured boy named Deamonte Driver, from Maryland, who was killed by a bacterial infection that spread from an abscessed tooth into his brain.
An article published in The Washington Post answers questions that patients or families may have in regard to the child dental care coverage of the ACA.
1. Will I be required to buy pediatric dental care if I purchase insurance?
The answer to this is most likely no, says The Post. Though children's dental care might be included in some plans on the marketplace, many insurers will likely offer it as a stand-alone policy that will not be required under law. For some states, though, it will be required.
The insurance will pay for visits to dentists for basic or preventative services, such as teeth cleaning, medically necessary orthodontics and X-rays.
2. Is it common for health insurers to not offer dental care in comprehensive insurance?
Dental benefits are mostly sold and contracted separately from current market medical plans. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, 99 percent of dental benefits are sold under a policy that is disconnected from medical coverage.
Families or individuals who have no dental insurance can look into other options like discount dental plans.
3. How many children benefit from expanded coverage?
According to the news source, approximately 8 million children are expected to gain benefits by 2018 thanks to the ACA. According to the American Dental Association, the number of children without dental benefits will be reduced by 55 percent in that year compared with 2010. About one-third of these children will receive coverage through their parents' employer-sponsored insurance, while another one-third will be covered by Medicaid.
4. Would I still have out-of-pocket dental expenses?
If coverage is purchased from a federally run exchange as a stand-alone policy, pediatric dental can include annual out-of-pocket expenses as high as $700 per child or $1,400 per family. The cost of stand-alone coverage is not counted toward the medical out-of-pocket limit. There are no tax credits that help pay for stand-alone pediatric dental plans.
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