MetLife updates dental plans for ACA

Insurance provider MetLife is updating its dental plans to comply with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Starting January 1, 2014, the ACA imposes new requirements on certain health benefits for most small-business employers. For these businesses, medical carriers will be required to offer a medical plan consisting of 10 essential health benefits (EHBs), including pediatric dental and vision coverage for children up to age 19.

To help its clients comply with the ACA, MetLife will add pediatric dental benefits that meet these EHB requirements to existing dental benefit plans in the states where MetLife is targeting on- or off-marketplace participation, according to the company.

These changes will be effective January 1, 2014, for groups with 50 or fewer employees. MetLife also plans to offer these EHBs to small groups in about 20 states via the public marketplaces. MetLife provides dental plan administration for about 20 million people.

For those target states, businesses that purchase their dental coverage from a standalone carrier will not need to change the way they purchase coverage, as the law also allows for the pediatric dental EHB to be provided by a standalone dental plan.

Selecting a fully insured dental benefit plan from a standalone dental carrier may also provide tax benefits, the company said. If a dental plan is fully insured, it is always considered "standalone" and will not be subject to the excise tax taking effect in 2018. Self-insured dental plans offered with a medical plan may be subject to the tax.

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