Will Covered California shut out dental plans?News added by Benefits Pro on October 29, 2013

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Allison Bell

Some dental carriers worry that managers of Covered California could be colder in 2015, not warmer.

That possibility surfaced during the latest exchange board meeting.

Covered California managers alarmed some children’s groups this past summer when they adjusted dental benefits requirements for carriers selling medical insurance.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act compels exchange plans to offer an “essential health benefits” package that includes preventive pediatric dental benefits.

The U.S. Department of Health Human Services later decided plans could leave dental benefits out of its EHB package if parents and guardians could buy stand-alone dental coverage through the exchange, as well. Several big companies now offer stand-alone dental coverage for kids.

But children’s groups and others are now asking Covered California to encourage or require carriers to build the PPACA pediatric dental benefits into their basic benefits packages in 2015.

Board meeting witnesses said they fear Covered California could go from one extreme -- offering stand-alone plans and no embedded dental benefits -- to the other, with only embedded dental benefits and no stand-alone plans.

Eliminating stand-alone dental benefits could be a headache for small employers buying coverage through the exchange Small Business Health Options Program division, witnesses said.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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