Dental’s Not the Priority for Obamacare

Florida has the highest number of people enrolled in Obamacare, with nearly 1.6 million people opting for it in 2015. With that number, the state surpassed California’s 1.4 million to lead the country. And yet, those who find the need for dental insurance suddenly find the act lacking. Dental is definitely not covered comprehensively by Obamacare. While the act does emphasize full dental coverage for children, there is little attention given to adult dental problems. The states are allowed the option of getting medical plans with comprehensive dental care but very few states have opted for it. What’s covered? Some states have expanded their Medicaid program to include dental care, allowing adults’ coverage for regular dental checkups and fillings. However, very few dentists are actually willing to take Medicaid. Many dentists have pointed out that the Medicaid program doesn’t fully cover their costs and there are some bureaucratic issues that deter them as well. With only checkups and fillings covered that too, only in some states, the more serious & expensive dental problems require patients to pay out of their own pockets. What isn’t covered? While Medicaid in some states provides for checkups and fillings, it doesn’t cover treatments like root canals and dental crowns. Moreover, there is a one denture per lifetime limit in most Medicaid programs that can prove especially problematic. Dentists usually would recommend removing the full set of teeth and get dentures to a young person rather than using up their limit on just a partial set. For those who need major dental work done, there is little to no coverage at all. There are, of course, stand-alone dental care insurance plans available at the exchange. They can be priced as low as $10 to $20 a month. Yet, that involves a lot of expense for someone who needs a lot of dental work done. The Changes There are, however, some changes being implemented. Slowly, the need for adequate dental coverage by Medicaid or Obamacare is being recognized. Dental health organizations are also starting incentive programs to convince dentists to take up families supported by Medicaid. While many dismiss dental problems as inconsequential in the grand scheme of things regarding health, it can greatly impact someone’s life. Those people who need dentures feel the impact on their social life. There are those who need extensive work done that can cost upwards of $5000. Comprehensive dental insurance is the need for the hour.

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