By Lisa Aliferis and April Dembosky
It was a big debate last summer. While children's dental coverage is one of the Affordable Care Act's 10 essential health benefits, the ACA gives states the flexibility to offer the coverage in a stand alone plan. Covered California first required insurers to include children's dental, then told them to strip out the benefit, in favor of offering stand alone plans at an additional cost.
Now the data is in. Less than one-third of enrolled children on Covered California through 2013 also has dental coverage. Executive director Peter Lee says the additional cost appears to be on issue. "A lot of folks are low income," he said. "They’re thinking additional coverage versus food on the table."
Covered California's board voted Thursday to make a change. Starting in 2015 all medical plans for children sold through the marketplace will be required to include dental coverage.
Kathleen Hamilton of The Children's Partnership, an advocacy group, said she was "very pleased, very excited by the 180 degree turn" that the board took.