ADA urges pediatric dental coverage to stay in ACA

In response to recent calls by business groups and insurers for the U.S. government to trim the essential benefits -- including dental benefits -- that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to offer, the ADA is urging lawmakers to "stay the course" when it comes to pediatric dental care.

"Requirements for a pediatric dental benefit in the ACA's healthcare exchanges would ensure that millions of children receive comprehensive oral health coverage through the private system of health exchanges," said Robert Faiella, DMD, MMSc, president of the ADA, in a press release.

Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have established good benchmarks for dental coverage by stipulating that state exchanges should adopt the standards of one of two existing programs: the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, the ADA noted. So far all states except one have adopted one of the two options.

Scaling back the pediatric dental benefit makes no sense from a budgetary point of view, Dr. Faiella emphasized.

"Dental care is a small portion of the overall health expenditure picture, but is a huge component of ensuring children's health," he stated.

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