BALTIMORE – An IRS and Congressional ruling that led to a lack of federal subsidies for pediatric dental insurance may make coverage for already reluctant low-income Maryland families impossible to afford, analysts said.
“I don’t know that [Congress] really justified it,” said Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans. “They just used the benchmark plan language … and didn’t think about the reality of the situation.”
Pediatric dental care is an essential benefit that all health policies must offer under the federal Affordable Care Act — though, unlike health insurance, individuals without dental insurance don’t have to pay a fine.
But due to an IRS ruling, health care plans on state exchanges are not required to include dental coverage, as long as at least one provider offers stand-alone dental coverage, according to Colin Reusch, senior policy analyst at the Children’s Dental Health Project.