SOURCE: :DentalPlans

:DentalPlans

January 09, 2017 09:51 ET

Future of Obamacare is Uncertain and Open Enrollment is Ending Soon

:DentalPlans Offers Insight on Dental Coverage and the Affordable Care Act

PLANTATION, FL--(Marketwired - January 09, 2017) - Time is running out for Americans who purchase their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces. Those who still want to choose or change their healthcare plan for 2017 have until January 31 to do so.

And, while the future of Obamacare is highly uncertain, it is reasonable to expect that plans purchased during the current enrollment period will provide coverage through January 2018.

The next Open Enrollment period is currently set for November 1, 2017 - January 31, 2018. But on January 4, the Senate voted in favor of taking the first official step toward repealing the ACA. This marks the beginning of what is likely to be the two or three-year process of overhauling Obamacare.

It is expected that the ACA mandates -- that individuals have coverage and that companies with 50 or more employees provide workers with affordable insurance -- will be the first segments of Obamacare to get the axe. And with no way to enforce universal coverage, it is likely that some insurance providers will pull out of the Federal and State ACA markets or demand dramatic rate raises again.

The Senate can also kill the federal subsidies that make ACA plans affordable for those in the lower-income brackets, eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion, and eliminate many Obamacare-related taxes. Until there are other alternatives in place, repealing the subsidies is highly unlikely.

President-elect Trump declared he would enact "a beautiful new plan [for] much better healthcare at a much lower cost." He has also acknowledged that "Everybody's got to be covered," according to his website.

Many of the Republican proposals under consideration include bringing back insurance policies, which cost less than ACA-approved plans, but do not provide coverage for preventive care, medications, mental health treatment or dental. Some of the alternative proposals also include guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but only for those who have had "continuous coverage" for a particular period of time.

Other options mentioned frequently by President-elect Trump are selling insurance across state lines and utilization of health savings accounts (HSA).

Meanwhile, Obamacare options for adult dental coverage are dismal, and it is highly unlikely this will change soon.

"Whether through ACA or other means, it's unfortunate that dental health is still considered an optional luxury rather than a medical necessity in America," said Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans.

For those who have not chosen their ACA plan for 2017, and want dental coverage, here are some issues to be aware of:

• One cannot purchase just dental insurance on the ACA marketplaces -- they must simultaneously purchase a health plan.

• If a health plan does not include dental, one can purchase a standalone plan. But if they do buy a standalone dental plan, they will not be eligible for a federal subsidy to reduce the dental plan's cost.

• A healthcare/dental bundle does qualify someone for federal subsidies, but healthcare plans covering dental may have a large deductible that applies to dental as well as medical care. The average deductible is $5,731 for individuals and $11,601 for families, and they pay out of pocket for most dental care until the plan's deductible is met. It may be helpful to find a dental insurance plan that offers a separate, lower deductible for dental care.

• Orthodontic care, and other services like dentures and implants, may not be covered by every plan.

• Preventive dental care is covered at 100% -- that means it is free -- on Obamacare pediatric dental plans. But this coverage may be limited to the bare minimum of preventive care. Cleanings, x-rays, and other basic services are not legally required to be included if dental coverage is embedded in one's health plan.

"As a country, we really can't afford to neglect dental care as we end up paying for it in the end," said Chase. "Dental disease results in lost productivity and higher public health costs as many people put off going to the dentist until they end up in the emergency room or needing larger procedures. And, scientific research continues to find correlations between oral health and overall health."

ACA coverage may not meet people's dental care needs, however there are other options available to help ensure people get the dental care they need and deserve. Dental savings plans offer an affordable alternative to dental insurance. With a dental savings plan, anyone can gain access to a network of dentists who have agreed to offer reduced rates to plan members -- typically 10%-60% of the cost of virtually all dental care and treatments.

"Making quality dental care affordable to everyone is necessary and simply the right thing to do," said Chase.

Find out more about dental savings plans at www.dentalplans.com.

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. For more information, visit us at www.dentalplans.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Twitter (PR), Pinterest and YouTube.

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