Interest is higher than ever to understand how the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, will affect health care in America. At the Center for Beautiful Smiles we thought we would post briefly on how dental care will work in the new insurance Marketplace exchanges and give you some web links to further your knowledge.
Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) dental care is treated separately for children 18-and-under and adults. Dental services for children are considered an “essential health benefit” and so must be provided for in insurance plans or through separate free-standing plans. This is not the case for adults. Insurers do not have to offer dental coverage for adults. In California, our insurance Marketplace, calledCovered California, is considering adding supplemental dental (and vision) plans for adults in 2014 but the timing of adding these benefits has not been decided yet.
In 2014 you must have health insurance (either through your employer, as an individual, or through the Obamacare marketplaces) or pay a penalty. But this is not true for dental coverage. You will not pay a fee if you do not have dental coverage.
The U.S. government explains on the website Healthcare.gov how dental insurance will be offered in the new Marketplaces:
Dental coverage is available two ways
- Health plans that include dental coverage. In the Marketplace, dental coverage will be included in some health plans. You’ll be able to see which plans include dental coverage when you compare them. You’ll also see what the dental benefits are. If a health plan includes dental coverage, you will pay one premium for everything. The premium shown for the plan includes both health and dental coverage.
- Separate, stand-alone dental plans. In some cases separate, stand-alone plans will be offered. You may want to choose this option if the health coverage you plan to enroll in doesn’t include dental coverage, or if you want different dental coverage.
If you choose a separate dental plan, you’ll pay a separate, additional premium for the dental plan.
There are many places to look on the Internet to understand this new health path that America is taking. Try these well-organized sites to answer questions you may have:
Healthcare.gov: the U.S. government’s insurance Marketplace and online resource about the Affordable Care Act
Covered California: the State of California’s insurance Marketplace. **This is the only site in California where you can receive premium assistance from the federal government to reduce your health care costs.
Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Reform: Information regarding the new health care laws and a place to shop for a health plan