The Problem Of Pediatric Dental Insurance
While you might think that a small cavity is not a big concern, the fact is that even small cavities, if left untreated, can fester into major dental problems. While the new health law has made pediatric dental care as one of the essential benefits, data collected through various surveys shows that a lot of parents skipped buying dental insurance during the open enrollment period.
According to the latest report presented by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, about 60 percent of children below the age of 5 have minor dental problems like cavities and gingivitis. Dental problems like tooth decay and cavities can also lead to other health problems like ear infections and sinus infections.
There is substantial evidence to support the fact that dental problems, in the long run, can also lead to other major health problems like obesity and heart diseases.
The chairman of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Paul Reggiardo, has repeatedly expressed his concern over the lack of pediatric dental care. He stated that dental problems can have direct implications on a child’s learning ability. It is only obvious that a kid with dental problems will hesitate in eating and chewing, this can lead to malnutrition. In some extreme cases, dental problems can also affect a child’s speech capabilities.
There are multiple reasons contributing to the lack of dental coverage. One of the reasons is that buying a dental insurance plan is complicated and confusing. Perhaps the most limiting factor is that there is no separate subsidy on the purchase of dental insurance plans.
In addition to this, unlike in the case of health insurance, there is no penalty for not buying dental insurance. Only 3 U.S. states i.e. Kentucky, Washington and Nevada make it mandatory for parents to buy children’s dental insurance plan.
According to the figures released by the American Department of Health and Human Services, only 34 percent of the health insurance plans sold on the marketplace included an integrated dental insurance plan for kids. The fact that there is no special subsidy on the purchase of standalone dental insurance plans, makes it difficult for parents to put their hard earned money into buying an additional insurance plan.
Standalone dental insurance plans are either sold as high premium plans that feature low out of the pocket costs or as low premium plans that have lower premiums but higher out of pocket costs.
Many experts believe that the new Affordable Care Act is incomplete without specifically including the provisions for subsidizing the dental insurance plans. During a survey one of the respondents said that a lot of middle class American families find it difficult to pay the premiums associated with the health insurance plans, then how can the government expect us to buy stand alone dental insurance plans.
The concern is real and so is the threat. In the absence of proper dental care, children are more likely to develop dental problems that may affect their learning abilities during those crucial years.