The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that there are 1,129,739 enrollees through Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces who purchased stand-alone dental insurance through the first open enrollment period ending March 31, 2014 for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That leaves 86 percent of exchange enrollees opting not to purchase stand-alone dental insurance through the exchange. This means that many people gaining insurance through the health care law might not have dental benefits. And that’s actually a significant public health problem, as research shows the health of your teeth and gums has an impact on a person’s overall health and well-being.
“Many Americans cannot afford the cost of a stand-alone dental insurance policy on top of buying their health insurance plan,” states Bob Harris, chief executive officer of :DentalPlans. “That’s why companies like :DentalPlans, who provide an affordable alternative to dental insurance called dental savings plans, have seen growth driven by the need for affordable dental care.”
While the ACA marketplaces are required to offer pediatric dental benefits, they may be separate from the health insurance plan and sold as stand-alone policies. Families who opted not to buy stand-alone dental coverage for their children won’t be penalized, so there is little incentive to purchase.
The ACA also does not require adult dental coverage. While some medical plans exist with adult dental coverage embedded into them, the vast majority of dental plans are sold as stand-alone plans. Stand-alone dental coverage may be available through the federal health exchange, healthcare.gov, but only with the purchase of health insurance plans. Medicare does not cover dentist visits for seniors either. And only 21 states provide comprehensive coverage to adults through Medicaid.
The lack of importance placed on dental coverage has left 180 million people without oral health coverage according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal research shows that people who earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level (that’s about $22,000/year for an individual) are significantly less likely to see a dentist. One in five low-income Americans haven’t had a teeth cleaning in five or more years.
Tooth loss is especially prevalent among low-income seniors, with 44 percent of seniors living below the poverty line that have no natural teeth.
According to research firm, Empirica, the two biggest barriers to dental care among the uninsured were worry about out-of-pocket cost and the difficulty of tracking down prices in the first place.
That’s where dental savings plans come in. The benefits of a dental savings plan includes savings up to 60 percent off what you would pay without a savings plan or insurance, no waiting to use your plan, no forms to file, no health restrictions, no limit on how often you can use your plan, and open enrollment all yearlong. Members pay a low annual fee for access to a network of participating dentists, who have agreed to charge less for their services for plan members. As a plan member you simply show your membership card when visiting any of the 140,000+ participating dentists (more than 75 percent of the practicing dentists in America) to receive dental procedures at a reduced price that’s up to 10 to 60 percent off. Services may include annual cleanings, x-rays, crowns, root canals, and even cosmetic and orthodontic procedures, which are not typically covered by insurance. And depending on the plan you choose, savings on vision and prescriptions are available as well.
“When it comes to dental care, we believe getting the right dental plan should give you peace of mind, not hassles or worry.” Adds Harris. “With :DentalPlans you will rest easy knowing you are getting the best care for the lowest possible price. And more importantly, you will be keeping your and your family’s teeth healthy and smiling.”
:DentalPlans has successfully been operating as a private exchange since 1999, as the largest dental savings plan marketplace. Similar to a membership at a warehouse club, consumers pay an annual fee and get access to reduced rates on dental services and cosmetic dentistry and orthodontia, as well as vision and pharmacy. Members can choose from more than 40 different plans from trusted healthcare brands, like Aetna, Careington, Signature Wellness, and UNI-CARE, and have access to more than 100,000 dentists in combined networks nationwide. :DentalPlans has affordable plans to fit any need and budget. And, depending on the plan you choose, consumers save 10 to 60 percent off services. Visitors of DentalPlans.com can compare plans by ZIP code or procedure, view sample savings and find a nearby dentist. :DentalPlans is committed to making you smile, by making access to quality oral healthcare affordable and available to everyone nationwide. It’s one of the reasons the company has been on the Inc. 5000 list, 3 years standing. To connect with :DentalPlans visit us at www.dentalplans.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dentalplans.