DentaQuest CEO Fay Donohue Discusses the Pediatric Dental Mandate
Although the Affordable Care Act includes pediatric dental care in its “essential health benefits” package, the implementation is confusing, leaving families in most states unsure of their options and more importantly, impeding children from receiving much needed oral healthcare.
DentaQuest president and CEO Fay Donohue discussed the issue with NPR today, highlighting the problems some Americans face when searching for dental insurance for their children, and why it is important for all children to receive coverage.
Below is an excerpt from Julie Rovner’s article or you can listen to the full story here:
“‘In some states, for example — a Maryland or a Massachusetts — you can go onto the exchange and shop just for dental," Donohue says, "and are able to pick a dental plan for yourself that makes sense and is an easy experience."
In other states, she says, "it is extremely difficult, and in others, pretty impossible."
That's not just a problem for the bottom line of dental firms, Donahue says. Unmet oral health needs — particularly those of children — are a serious health problem. It's estimated that 1 in 10 children from low-income families is in pain from untreated dental problems.
"How can you go to school and learn anything when you're in pain?" Donahue asks. "If you care about education, you've got to care about oral health."
That difficulty in finding plans extends to adults, too. Under the health law, any adult who doesn't have dental coverage should, theoretically, be able to just go to the exchange and buy a plan.
But Donohue says that's not always happening, either. "In some [states], you can," she says. "In some, you can only buy dental if you've already purchased a medical. And in some, they're not there at all."