Vermont is saying no to adult dental care under the new health reform law.
The state made recommendations Thursday for what health services will be covered when the health care exchange goes into effect in 2014. The exchange and 10 coverage categories are required by the federal health reform law. But the exact services are up to the states. Vermont decided that it is too expensive to require insurance companies to cover adult dental care. Kristin Kelly spoke with Vermont's Commissioner of Health Access about the recommendations on the news at 6.
"Just like today, people get dental coverage as a separate part of their health insurance. That will continue to occur. If we were to require it in all plans the state would have to pay for that part and we couldn't pass that cost on to the consumer," said Mark Larson, the Vermont Health Access Commissioner.
Kids' dental care will be covered following the model of the current Dr. Dynasaur program.
The state is recommending that all health plans in the exchange be similar to Blue Cross - Blue Shield's plan. Critics of Vermont's health reform process, like the group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, say that was an easy decision for the state to make since there are so few plans in Vermont and the federal guidelines are so restrictive. It's the state push to move from the exchange to a government sponsored single-payer plan in 2017 that is the bigger worry.
"They're doing things that seem logical and reasonable, such as the selection that they made today. And we'll acknowledge that. But what we're concerned about is the big picture-- 2016, 2017, 18. Once we get into that timeframe, we may be on a path we can't reverse headed for a cost we can't afford," said Jeff Wennberg of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom.
Wennberg says the federal government has indicated it may revise health care subsidies after 2017 which could leave states paying more. Commissioner Larson says without taking action to control health care costs now everyone will be paying more down the road. The state expects to know how much insurance companies will be charging for coverage within that new exchange next year.
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