A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that at least 45 million Americans do not have dental insurance. Also 70 percent of Americans who purchase their own health insurance plans do not have the additional dental coverage according to Reuters.
Unfortunately, the new health insurance legislation does little to change these numbers. The legislation requires Americans to obtain insurance by 2014 but does not require them to purchase additional coverage for services like vision and dental care.
Health insurance plans cover emergency care, routine visits and prescription drug costs but vision and dental care are additional benefits that need to be purchased unless they are purchasing a comprehensive plan.
It is important to note that dental care is provided to children by law. Even Medicaid provides dental care for individuals who are under the age of 21 and Children’s Health Insurance Programs across the country provide dental benefits.
For adults, purchasing dental coverage has a direct correlation to income and access to care. Individuals with higher income typically have dental coverage. For low-income individuals there are public assistance programs. Right now there are around 90 million Americans on Medicare and Medicaid but those benefits do not include dental care for adults.
Medicare recipients can purchase supplemental Medicare coverage to receive dental and vision benefits through Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is run by private health insurance companies and helps provide seniors with benefits that are not given by government-run Medicare.
Consumers should talk to insurance agents to discuss dental insurance benefits. The largest health insurance companies across the country offer dental insurance.