Dentists and other dental health professionals are checking out some of the newest ideas and equipment at the Vermont Dental Society annual meeting. But Vermont's new health care exchange will not mean much is new when it comes to patients getting dental coverage.
"There is an opportunity for states to make a difference," said Dr. Robert Faiella, the president of the American Dental Association.
Faiella wishes Vermont's exchange required health plans to have dental coverage for adults. The federal Affordable Care Act requires all state health exchanges to have dental coverage for kids. But state officials opted to leave adult dental care out.
Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson says requiring adult dental in Vermont's exchange could have cost taxpayers $40 million.
"We know that dental coverage and oral health are important to Vermonters and important to their health. We were put in a position by the Affordable Care Act that if we were to require adult dental coverage as part of the plans sold through Vermont Health Connect that the state would have to pay the entire cost," Larson said.
The Affordable Care Act says exchanges requiring adult dental cannot pass that cost onto patient premiums, meaning state taxpayers would pick up the tab. It's something Massachusetts chose to pay for when it built its exchange seven years ago.
"The Massachusetts experience through health care reform in 2006 shows that providing adult dental benefits in that exchange made a significant impact for poor, non-elderly adults, in terms of their dental utilization and overall health," Faiella said.
Faiella is also a former president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. He says Vermont could learn from the increased treatment patients received in Massachusetts. It went up 11 percent.
"Patients are struggling with the economy, trying to find a foothold in recovery and we need to make a difference in their lives by providing benefits to them," Faiella said.
Vermonters will be able to buy dental coverage through the new exchange Vermont Health Connect. But those plans will be separate from their health plans and there will not be financial assistance paying for them the way there is for general health plans.
Larson says the exchange is expanding dental and vision coverage to all Vermonters under 21. Kids who had Dr. Dynasaur had those before, but kids with private insurance often did not. And Larson says adult dental coverage will be up for discussion again as Vermont starts work on transitioning to single-payer health care in 2017.
Monday, December 9 2013 11:47 AM EST2013-12-09 16:47:04 GMT
Icy conditions may have contributed to a fatal accident Monday morning in Burlington involving a school bus and a car.It happened on the beltline just south of the intersection of Plattsburgh Avenue. PoliceMore >>
Icy conditions may have contributed to a fatal accident Monday morning in Burlington.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:56 AM EST2013-12-09 15:56:21 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:28 AM EST2013-12-09 15:28:19 GMT
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.It happened on Front Street Sunday afternoon. The victim told police he was held up at gunpoint by two African AmericanMore >>
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:37 AM EST2013-12-09 14:37:21 GMT
An American singer with Vermont ties is making waves with her music halfway across the globe. Jennifer Grout has emerged as the unlikely singing sensation on the overseas reality show Arabs Got Talent. UnlikelyMore >>
An American singer with Vermont ties is making waves with her music halfway across the globe.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:29 AM EST2013-12-09 14:29:05 GMT
Usually the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service is busy saving lives or responding to emergencies. But right now, members are selling Christmas trees to raise money for the finishing touches on theirMore >>
Many different groups sell Christmas trees this time of year to raise money for their organization. And for the third year, that includes an ambulance service.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:26 AM EST2013-12-09 14:26:04 GMT
This year's Gift of Life marathon is set for December 17, and organizers in Rutland have their sights set on knocking off the Manchester, New Hampshire's one-day record with 1,968 pints. Here with anMore >>
We have an update on the preparations for Rutland's big Gift of Life Marathon later this month.More >>