By Julie Small, KPCC
The state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, authorized a set of benefits months ago that included dental care for children, but now the marketplace is telling insurance companies to strip out the dental coverage. People would then have to pay extra for a dental plan for their children.
California’s insurance commissioner Dave Jones warns the move could reduce children’s access to dental care and urged Covered California to include the benefit in plans that will be sold when the marketplace formally opens October 1. The change will also drive up costs for consumers, he says.
In a June 27th letter to the board that runs Covered California, Jones says he talked with insurers that originally submitted bids to sell their products on the state’s marketplace and argues dental care is essential. “A child’s overall health and well-being requires access to dental care to ensure oral health,” he wrote.
Covered California is the state’s new health insurance exchange set up as part of the federal health law. It will open Oct. 1 and will be a place where individuals can shop for health insurance which will go into effect Jan. 1. Covered California’s website still shows pediatric dental services as a covered benefit under its health insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act does not require that health plans include dental coverage for children. Continue reading