Dental care for children was supposed to be one of the basic benefits that all health insurance plans would have to cover under the Affordable Care Act. But a change in the rules means that the coverage is now optional and that many families will have to pay extra if they want dental plans for their kids.
“It was originally included as one of 10 essential healthcare benefits, but it seems to have evolved into being a ‘non-essential’ essential benefit,” said Arthur Meisel, executive director of the New Jersey Dental Association.
When the law was approved in 2010, it listed pediatric dental care as an “essential.” But last year, when the federal Department of Health and Human Services explained how the ACA would actually be implemented, the agency issued a rule allowing insurance companies in New Jersey and most other states to leave out pediatric dental coverage.
Dental coverage has almost always been offered through separate, stand-alone insurance plans from companies like VSP and Davis Vision, rather than directly by medical insurers.
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