NADP Advocates for Improved Access to Dental Benefits and Care

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Congress Urged to Support Technical Fix to Healthcare.gov

DALLAS, May 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Improving access to dental benefits and care was the main objective of Advocacy in Action, the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) annual Congressional fly-in for the dental benefits industry, May 7-9 in Washington, D.C. Below is a summary of two key issues that were addressed.

Issue #1: Independent Purchase of Dental Benefits (S.2771, H.R. 1671)
NADP members pushed for Congressional support in directing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to implement a technical fix on Healthcare.gov. The fix would enable consumers to purchase dental benefits without first having to purchase medical coverage. Currently, there are no statutory limitations preventing DHHS from giving consumers the ability to purchase only dental coverage.

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The current technical design of the Marketplaces links medical and dental enrollment functions on HealthCare.gov, preventing the independent purchase of dental coverage. The ability to purchase only dental benefits on the Marketplaces would expand coverage opportunities for more consumers, including those who have medical coverage through other means such as their employer, Medicare, or a pension plan.

Marketplaces allow consumers to compare certified standalone dental plans (SADPs), which provide vital coverage for oral health services. Studies continually show that individuals and families are more likely to visit the dentist and seek critical preventive services, such as cleanings, when they have dental coverage. Preventive dental care reduces the likelihood of emergency room visits for treatment of abscesses and cavities, reducing the burden on hospitals. It also reduces the need for more expensive dental procedures and costly medical complications, holding down health care costs.

Thirteen state-based marketplaces currently allow for the independent purchase of dental plans. Without this capacity, 20 million Americans with medical coverage who lack dental coverage are denied the ability to comparison-shop and purchase dental plans that meet extra regulatory requirements and are “qualified” to be sold on the Marketplace. State health officials have cited the ability to purchase dental-only coverage in the Marketplaces as an important means for the expansion of dental coverage in their state.

“NADP commends our members for advancing our mission to improve access to affordable, quality dental care in 77 meetings with Congressional leaders and their staff,” said Board Chair Donna Hunter, United Concordia Dental.

Issue #2: Non-Covered Services S.1424, H.R. 1385
NADP members opposed a non-covered services (NCS) bill, Dental and Optometric Care (DOC) Access, which would diminish the value of patients’ dental coverage by increasing their out-of-pocket expenses. This would happen because patients would not be charged the lower, negotiated price for dental services after they exceed plan limitations.

About NADP
National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a Texas nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Dallas, is the representative and recognized resource of the dental benefits industry. NADP is the only trade organization that includes the full spectrum of dental benefits companies operating in the United States. NADP members provide Dental HMO, Dental PPO, Dental Indemnity and Dental Savings Plan products to more than 200 million Americans.

CONTACT:
Michael Adelberg
NADP Executive Director
(972) 457-1554
[email protected]

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