May 9, 2013 -- The Children's Dental Health Project and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, along with 44 other organizations including the American Dental Association, sent a letter to the Secretary of Treasury urging the IRS to reconsider the interpretation of the Final Rule on Health Insurance Premium Tax Credits.
"As the rule is currently being interpreted, a family could end up being financially penalized for purchasing stand-alone pediatric dental benefits because the IRS now says they won't get the full premium tax credit that Congress intended them to have," said Patrice Pascual, Executive Director of the Children's Dental Health Project. CDHP has estimated that as many as 5 million more children could receive dental coverage under Affordable Care Act (ACA); this number could shrink if the policy is allowed to stand.
The letter requests clarification that premium tax credits, which will assist families with incomes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in purchasing health coverage under the ACA, be calculated to include the cost of stand-alone pediatric dental coverage. While the final rule is ambiguous, current IRS interpretation would allow a family's premium tax credit amount to be calculated without regard to the cost of stand-alone dental benefits, leaving many families with insufficient subsidies. Such a policy would create a significant financial disincentive for families to purchase pediatric dental coverage, a critical piece of the essential health benefits (EHB).
The list of organizations calling for re-interpretation of this rule includes state and national children's health and oral health groups, major dental provider organizations such as the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and national dental insurance organizations such as the National Association of Dental Plans and the Delta Dental Plans Association. The groups are united on this issue because of a shared concern about families' access to affordable dental care for their children.
Source: Children’s Dental Health Project