Dental Plans Leaders Urge Congress to Improve Access to Dental Coverage via Medicare and Marketplaces
DALLAS – National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) members will urge Congressional leaders to explore various models to include dental in Medicare; extend the moratorium on the Health Insurance Tax (HIT); and decouple the purchase of dental and medical coverage in the marketplaces during its 2019 Congressional industry fly-in, “NADP Advocacy in Action,” June 4-5, in the nation’s Capital.
In addition, NADP members will request Congress weigh the possible consequences of the repeal a narrow anti-trust exemption for health insurers and are concerned of potential unintended impacts to dental benefits consumers. Members will offer to serve as a resource regarding the dental benefits industry on this and other issues.
“NADP is the voice of the dental benefits industry with a mission to improve consumer access to affordable, quality dental care,” noted Board Chairman Ronald Bolden of Cigna. “We commend our members for representing our industry via Advocacy in Action and for participating in the democratic process.”
In face-to-face meetings with Members of Congress, NADP members will express support for the addition of dental in Medicare and will offer to serve as a resource in the numerous discussions about this issue. NADP members will convey several key factors regarding this addition:
- There is a growing amount of evidence of the fundamental connection between oral health.
- Science confirms the importance of controlling inflammation in the oral cavity to control overall inflammation caused by diabetes.
- People with dental benefits are nearly twice as likely to visit a dentist as those without dental benefits, are less likely to defer needed treatment, and also average lower per person per month medical costs.
- The cost to provide the simplest dental procedure in a dental office is a fraction of the cost to perform that same procedure in a hospital emergency room setting.
- While many seniors continue to work past their Medicare eligible age and continue to have employer based dental benefits, seniors are about 1/3 of the 22% of Americans without dental benefits.(Approximately 37 million Medicare beneficiaries do not have any form of dental coverage.)
NADP will also seek an extension of the Health Insurance Tax moratorium through 2020. An average 2-percent fee would have a significant impact on the affordability of dental coverage as average annual change in premiums over the last five years range from plus 1.5 percent to negative .06 percent.
In addition, NADP will seek assistance from Congress to decouple the purchase of dental and medical coverage on public marketplaces. Currently, consumers must purchase medical coverage in order to buy dental coverage. In many cases when consumers drop or change medical coverage, their dental coverage is also discontinued even though it was not their intention. NADP is asking for Congress’s support in seeking a technical solution to this dilemma.
Advocacy in Action attendees will provide detailed documentation of the issues at the conclusion of their face-to-face meetings, and NADP will follow-up with policymakers throughout the year. These materials are also available on NADP’s website at www.nadp.org.
National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a Texas nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, is the representative and recognized resource of the dental benefits industry. NADP is the only national trade organization that includes the full spectrum of dental benefits companies operating in the United States. NADP’s members provide Dental HMO, Dental PPO, Dental Indemnity and Discount Dental products to more 200 million Americans.