TrumpCare could affect dental coverage for children


Dental care for children could be hindered by new Trump Administration policies

Changes are coming fast in Washington D.C. There has been a lot of talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare. While there are many competing plans and theories about what will replace Obamacare if it’s repealed, one seldom mentioned aspect is pediatric dental. Let’s take a look at the potential ramifications of healthcare changes for dental coverage of children.

An Obamacare repeal could remove the requirements for Pediatric Dental

Prior to the passing of Obamacare, routine dental services for adults and children were handled separately from most health insurance plans. But with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, it introduced a list of Essential Health Benefits that every medical plan must include. Pediatric dental services was included in this required coverage.

If Obamacare is repealed, it’s uncertain what will happen to the Essential Health Benefit requirements that include pediatric dental. It’s entirely possible that they could be removed, which would allow insurers to decide if they would include or exclude various benefits from plans. Though it’s more likely that many insurers would remove or separate some plan benefits in order to get costs down.

Pediatric dental coverage could be a prime target for removal from health plans, since this was not a typical health benefit prior to the ACA. If pediatric dental coverage is removed from medical plans it could have a negative impact on the oral health of children. This change could reduce care for large groups of children who may not have other means of easily accessible dental coverage.

Essential Health Benefits and other insurance regulations could be shifted to the states

One thought among policy makers, is that many insurance regulations and guidelines would be delegated to the states in an Obamacare replacement plan. This is how many insurance requirements and mandates were handled prior to Obamacare. Each state would regulate insurance carriers operating in their state and specify plan requirements and mandated benefit coverage.

If this shifting of insurance regulation happens, passing power back to the states, then we could likely expect that Republican controlled states would generally have less plan requirements, while Democratic led states could opt to maintain or increase various mandates that we see in Obamacare.

If this were to happen, we could likely see blue states keeping requirements for pediatric dental coverage and red states possibly removing this required coverage from medical plans. Though this is only a guess as each state could play out differently depending on local politics.

CHIP plans would probably still include pediatric dental

One area of access for pediatric dental coverage that is unlikely to change is the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Families with children who are enrolled in the CHIP program currently have included coverage for pediatric dental care. Because CHIP programs are closely tied to Medicaid, the specifications of the programs are handled separately from the ACA.

However Medicaid in general will most likely be a major issue in the potential replacement of Obamacare. This is because the expansion of Medicaid coverage in some states was a major part of the ACA. Many states chose to expand the income requirements for Medicaid under the ACA, but it’s uncertain if those expanded ranges will continue. However any members that continue to have coverage under the CHIP program are unlikely to see pediatric dental coverage removed from plans.

Families with children may have to seek private dental insurance

Families with kids who are not eligible for government programs such as CHIP or Medicaid could potentially have to seek other alternatives for pediatric dental care if it is separated from health insurance plans.

Prior to Obamacare, families with children had to obtain dental insurance separately from health insurance, typically through employer sponsored plans or in the individual market. If we see a shift in various states around the country, to remove pediatric dental from medical coverage, then families will again have to seek separate dental insurance coverage for their children.

Fortunately there are a number of resources where families can obtain dental insurance coverage. Online sources such as provide fast quotes for a number of dental carriers and plan options to suit any dental coverage need.

We’ll watch healthcare reform to see how pediatric dental will be affected

As of this writing, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. Law makers in Washington continue to debate possible changes and solutions to healthcare reform. Though it may take time, it is likely that some form of change will happen in the future. While healthcare reform is a broad topic with many interconnected parts, we’ll be sure to keep a watchful eye on how new laws and regulations in Washington may affect dental care in the future, especially for the coverage of children.

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