16:19 PM

Reform Measures for Oral Health

Wrapping up a prolonged national discussion on health care, Congress approved health care reform legislation (H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872). President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care for America Act into law. During the debate, DentaQuest spoke out to make sure there would be oral health provisions in the final law.

The new law will offer essential dental benefits for children as part of their overall health plan. These covered dental care visits should provide adequate oral care and preventative measures for all children.

All Americans should become better informed about how oral health improves their general wellbeing through programs that educate the public about the importance of oral health. We anticipate more funding for research in dentistry and greater use of proven prevention measures like dental sealants and community water fluoridation.

The reform bill addresses access to dental care with provisions targeted to expanding the number of professionals within the industry. One way is to support minorities who wish to undertake careers in health. The Centers of Excellence (COE) program will enhance recruitment, training, academic performance, and other support; there may be scholarships for disadvantaged students who work in medically underserved areas as primary care providers, and loan repayments for individuals who serve as faculty in eligible institutions through the Health Professions Training for Diversity.

Current dental care providers may become eligible for funding to further their education in the field of dentistry; this means more qualified dentists to treat more individuals who receive coverage via the healthcare reform bill.

Finally, the Affordable Health Care for America Act allows for standalone dental plans, like DentaQuest, to be offered through the new health exchanges. Today, stand alone dental plans provide 97 percent of dental coverage and work to control costs with an emphasis on preventive services. The bill also exempts dental coverage from the premium amounts subjected to the “Cadillac plan” excise tax.

Guest Blog post by Fay Donohue, DentaQuest CEO.