YOU ASK:

How will the healthcare reform bill affect dental practices?

WE ANSWER:

The healthcare reform bill will substantially affect and benefit dental practices by advancing policies and laws that are aimed towards improving the way dental treatments are delivered to the patients, as well as the level of access people have on dental treatments.

Here are the changes or additional provisions that will significantly affect dental practices:

  • Require a health benefits package, including dental services and oral care.
  • Require insurance providers to provide plans that include pediatric oral health care and services for those who are 21 years and below.
  • Put in additional funding for the states in order to enable them to expand their Medicaid coverage.
  • Put up oral health programs in all states, where oral health prevention education is given to children and adults. The education campaign will target particular sectors and populations, and this will include the senior citizens, the children and pregnant women. Oral health programs will also implement treatments such as water fluoridation, dentals sealants and preventive care.
  • Expand access to dental and medical care by allowing more people to meet Medicaid eligibility requirements, both for children and adults.
  • Improve how dental care is delivered by enabling dentists to acquire further studies and training. The funding will focus on providing training for public health dentistry, as well as pediatric and general dentistry. The new healthcare reform bill will also provide more loans for dental schools in order for them to provide further training to dental professionals. These loans (which are previously only being given to medical schools) would be geared towards training the school faculty, providing pre-doctoral training and repayment of dental faculty loans.
  • Have a system that enables the regular review of how much dentists are paid. A process would be established to ensure that payments to dentists and other dental health professionals are updated.
  • Provide an exemption of premiums paid for dental insurance coverage, particularly for high cost insurance plans.
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