Dental Insurance Carriers Fight for Stand-Alone Children’s Dental Plans

Dental PlansThree major dental groups want managers of the health insurance exchange in District of Columbia to make room for stand-alone dental plans for children. Representatives for MetLife, Delta Dental, and Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America want the creation of a market for stand-alone children’s dental coverage that would give families the chance for better coverage.

Consumer groups are apprehensive on whether stand-alone dental coverage will be a practicable product. The insurance carriers said providing children’s dental benefit in all exchange plans is better and easier. The board members of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority are preparing to discuss the 2015 dental plan options at this week’s meeting. The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority is the body that supervises the DC Health Link exchange.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require exchange plans to cover several essential health benefits that include dental benefits for children. The US Department of Health and Human Services says an exchange can meet the requirement by providing stand-alone dental plans for children.

Dental insurance carriers can sell stand-alone dental coverage for families and adults but they are not allowed to sell stand-alone dental plans for children inside or outside the exchange. Major medical carriers state that all children in DC have dental coverage.

This is not the case in some exchanges across the nation where only a small portion of children get dental coverage. The representatives of the dental carriers that embedded dental benefits can only be a financial burden to families. For instance, a family with $4,000 plan deductible might be required to need all $4,000 deductibles before the plan can pay for a kid’s cavity treatment. A DC exchange dental plan working group wants to limit the deductible for in-network dental services for children to $50 per person and $100 for families.

Photo by Milenafoto [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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