In January of 2014, families will have new options for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Beginning this October, state marketplaces will be available to help you find a suitable plan your family can afford. The “Marketplace” is run by the state and simplifies your search for health coverage by gathering everything in one place.
California’s marketplace, Covered California, will provide everything from side-by-side price comparisons to the ability for eligible families to use tax credits in order to lower costs. One thing that will be missing, however, is pediatric dental care coverage under general health care plans.
According to a Southern California Public Radio station, KPCC, this lapse in children’s dental care will push up costs for the quarter of a million children who are expected to get insurance through the California exchange.
The worry is that some families may opt out of pediatric coverage altogether, rather than paying a nominal fee each month for standalone coverage.
“If you don’t mandate the families to buy it, then it’s the first thing that gets chopped off their list, because they think it’s just a disposable kind of thing,” Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Thenard tells KPCC. “They think, ‘I’m just going to save a few bucks and I’m not going to get the dental portion of it.’”
But pediatric dental care is far from disposable – tooth decay is today’s most prevalent childhood disease. That’s especially true here in the East Bay. California ranks third nationwide when it comes to kids with tooth decay, and within California, Alameda County is worst.
What do you think? Should California Covered board members make pediatric dental coverage mandatory? Send us your comments below!