New ACA Policy Expands Access To Dental Care. Now, States Need To Act

High blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, and adverse birth outcomes are all medical conditions that have a direct correlation to oral health. Optimal oral health is about so much more than white teeth and a good smile. It has far-reaching impacts on overall health. But despite the growing understanding of the relationship between oral health and systemic disease, our current system—the way we access, deliver, and pay for oral health care—remains fragmented. Policymakers at the federal and state levels have unique power to address this fragmentation and support integration of oral health care into the broader health care system.

To that end, in April 2024, the Biden administration finalized a new rule allowing states to include adult dental services in the list of designated essential health benefits (EHBs) required to be covered by most health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is the first time federal policymakers have acted to improve access to adult dental services in private insurance. Moreover, states that add adult dental as an EHB will also guarantee coverage for people who qualify for Medicaid through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion or who rely on a state’s Basic Health Program. It is an important step toward improving health outcomes, reducing health and economic inequities, and opening access to oral health care for millions of people.

Source: New ACA Policy Expands Access To Dental Care. Now, States Need To Act / Health Affairs

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