Impacts of National Health Care Reform on Oral Health . . .

There are important oral health elements to the health care reform law – the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act
(PPACA) – signed by President Obama in March 2010. Most significant, oral health is considered an “essential benefit” for children up to the age of 21. This is an important step in the right direction to incorporate oral health to overall health and focus on prevention of disease in our young population.  As an essential benefit, health insurance – including dental – will need to cover a core set of oral health benefits starting in 2014 through either a state-sponsored Exchange or later through private-employer sponsored health insurance.  Washington Dental Service and its oral health partners will be working closely to ensure that core benefit requirements are
designed to prevent dental disease at the earliest possible age.Other Important Oral Health Elements
Contained In The PPACA Law:

* Oral Health Prevention Campaign – The law
establishes a five-year oral health campaign targeted
at children, pregnant women and minorities.

* School-based Sealant Grants – Grants will be made
available in all 50 states.

* Surveillance Activities – the Department of Health &
Human Services (HHS) will update and improve
Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System with
a specific focus on improving oral health.

* Workforce – Oral health was called out as a special
area of need, and HHS will be empowered to extend
grants to dental schools.

Washington Dental Service fought hard during the health care reform debate to allow dental-only plans, including
members of the Delta Dental Plans Association, to participate and compete in the Exchanges as they do now in the
traditional marketplaces.  As a leader in dental benefit plan design, Washington Dental Service is well poised to bring
our innovative and disease prevention focus to the individuals and small employers on the Exchange market.
The results of health care reform provide additional attention and exposure to the importance of oral health to overall health. Washington Dental Service and its partners will continue to be closely involved as the new PPACA law is implemented in Washington and around the country.

-Washington Dental Service ‘Word of Mouth’ Newsletter   Summer 2010

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