As the year winds down and Congress finds itself scrambling to resolve unresolvable issues in just a few weeks, the country moves forward with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Not much is certain at this point about how it will be implemented. Not much is known about who’s covered, how they’re covered, or who’s paying for it. So I can’t tell you how all of this will turn out. I can tell you what I’ve been hearing about how it will affect dentistry.
From what I can tell, dental coverage will be mandated for children beginning in 2014. I don’t know if this means that the medical policies for children will begin to handle dental claims or if they will contract out to dental insurance companies. I have no details on what that mandatory coverage must include. I assume this will necessitate increased premiums. There are no plans for any coverage of adults.
Dental offices will be faced with a new tax to help finance the new law. There will be a 2.3% medical devices tax levied on all dental supplies and equipment purchased. That’s an immediate increase in overhead costs at all dental offices across the nation. It also affects dental laboratories, medical offices, and hospitals. Since the Affordable Care Act doesn’t pay for adult dental care, the net result is higher dental costs for everyone. Stay tuned for more updates.
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