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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Your Access to Essential Dental Care

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 ushered in a whole new era of health care coverage, availability, and with it, complexity. While a greater number of Americans will have access to essential medical coverage in the coming years, dental coverage under the ACA can be complicated or non-existent. The ACA misses an essential component of healthy living by not requiring dental care of most insurance providers.

106579084 Approximately 47% of Americans lack any type of dental insurance as of 2012, whereas only 14.5% of Americans lack medical insurance.[1] Of the uninsured, 66% have at least one major unmet dental care need according to the 2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility.[2] These unmet needs can develop into chronic conditions affecting overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the ACA does little to remedy this situation.

The good news for children and parents is that under the ACA, pediatric oral care is considered an “Essential Health Benefit” (EHB), meaning that insurance providers must include some level of dental care for children in their plans beginning January 1, 2014. As discussed in our previous blog post, regular dental checkups are crucial to establish good habits and health in children.

Dental coverage for adults, however, may be limited or non-existent under the ACA. According to the American Dental Association, states can elect to mandate dental care as part of the ACA, but few are actually doing so due to cost and implementation issues.[3] Medicaid only provides limited or emergency dental care in most cases, leaving millions of adults with limited dental care options.

Brighter.com can help patients find affordable, quality care whether they possess dental insurance or not under the ACA. Brighter.com provides a transparent marketplace for a wide range of dental procedures (including those not covered by traditional insurance), resulting in significant savings averaging over 50% off due to our pre-negotiated rates with top providers. All patients can search for quality dentists in their area and select a provider through our unique listing pages featuring bios, reviews, photos, and videos of the dentist and their practice. You can book a convenient appointment through our website or customer service hotline – try it today at Brighter.com or 888.230.4717!








[1] CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, Family Core component. (2012).




[2] Neal, David, Ph.D., and Natalie Herd, Ph.D. "2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility." (2013)




[3] "ADA News." Affordable Care Act, Dental Benefits Examined. American Dental Association, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. <http://www.ada.org/news/8935.aspx>.