SOURCE: :DentalPlans

:DentalPlans

July 07, 2015 07:00 ET

:DentalPlans Looks at Year Two Effect of Affordable Care Act on Access to Dental Services

Are You Better Off?

PLANTATION, FL--(Marketwired - July 07, 2015) - The average American dental expenditure is $6661 a year. In year two of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), :DentalPlans takes a look at how the ACA measured up to meeting the oral care needs of Americans. In the Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014, respondents indicated that they went without some type of health care because they were unable to afford it; one quarter went without dental care in the prior 12 months for that very reason.

According to the Annual :DP SmileIndex™ survey* on oral care access and affordability, only 7 percent of adults have dental insurance through a plan purchased on Healthcare.gov. The primary impact the ACA has had on dental access is for children on public insurance plans, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).

In a recent American Dental Association report, More Dental Benefits Options in 2015 Health Insurance Marketplaces (2015), across the 37 states operating through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and the three State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs), there are 4,810 medical plans and 638 Stand Alone Dental Plans (SADPs) offered.

Across the 40 states analyzed, 35.7 percent of medical plans have embedded pediatric or family dental benefits. This is an 8.9 percent increase from 2014. The number of states, within those same 40, in which none of the medical plans include embedded pediatric dental benefits declined from eight in 2014 to three in 2015. Additionally, more SADPs offer family dental benefits and as a result, adults have more dental insurance plan options this year.

"While the availability of and information on dental benefits was more evident in the 2015 Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, the ACA still fails to meet the oral care needs of most adults and seniors," says Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans, a leading provider of dental savings plans. "Once again, oral care for adults is an optional benefit, requiring adults to purchase additional Stand Alone Dental Plans if they want coverage, costing additional money, while not being eligible for assistance."

That's why many people are turning to a solution called a dental savings plan. Dental savings plans are an affordable, easy alternative to dental insurance, and offer quality access to dental services. Savings range from 10 percent to 60 percent of what you might pay out-of-pocket without a plan, and there are no caps on services.

Dental savings plans are not dental insurance. Participating dentists have agreed to accept a reduced fee from dental savings plan members for a variety of dental services. Dental savings plans are available to individuals and families, as well as businesses.

The :DP SmileIndex also reports, of respondents without dental insurance, 58 percent stated it was not affordable, while 21 percent said it was not offered through their employer. "Cost is still proving to be a barrier for Americans to obtain the necessary dental services that are so important to a person's overall health and well-being," adds Chase. "Dental savings plans continue to play a vital role in the access and affordability of dental care."

About :DentalPlans
:DentalPlans, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives.

We provide comprehensive resource centers aimed at helping people to maintain/regain optimal health, and successfully navigate the maze of healthcare payment options (including Obamacare and Medicaid). Our independent research -- the :DP SmileMeter™ and :DP SmileIndex™ -- delivers a unique look into the consumer healthcare market. We offer user-friendly access to a wide selection of traditional dental insurance and 40+dental savings plans, along with innovative healthcare offerings including telemedicine, medical advocacy, and online counseling services. Our online plan comparison and savings calculator tools help consumers to make smart choices about essential healthcare services, and our :DP AtYourService™ customer support team leaves no question unanswered. For more information, visit us at www.dentalplans.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

1 2012 Full Year Consolidated File, HC-138, Department of Health & Human Services.

*A national study was conducted for :DentalPlans between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, 2015 by Infosurv Research. A total of 1,200 national respondents were surveyed, yielding data with a margin of error of +/- 2.83%.

An independent study of its members was conducted for :DentalPlans between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4, 2015 by Infosurv Research. A total of 9,410 national customers were surveyed, yielding data with a margin of error of +/- .99%.

**The select regional average cost represents the average fees for the procedures listed above in Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago and New York City, as displayed in the cost of care tool as of August 2014.

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