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ADA Reaffirms Need for Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Benefits in ACA’s Health Care Exchanges

January 28, 2013

Contact Information:
Rob Raible: Telephone: 202.789.5166 Email:

"Requirements for a pediatric dental benefit in the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges would ensure that millions of children receive comprehensive oral health coverage through the private system of health exchanges," said Robert Faiella, DMD, MMSc, president of the American Dental Association. Dr. Faiella spoke in response to recent calls by business groups and insurers for the government to trim the essential benefits—including dental benefits—that the ACA requires insurers to offer.

Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have established good benchmarks for dental coverage by stipulating that state exchanges should adopt the standards of one of two existing programs: the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. So far all the states except one have adopted one of the two options.

"We’re satisfied that the requirements as they now stand are at least adequate," Dr. Faiella said. "Scaling back the pediatric dental benefit makes no sense from a budgetary point of view," he said. "Dental care is a small portion of the overall health expenditure picture, but is a huge component of ensuring children’s health.

"The ADA and its 156,000 member dentists urge the federal government to stay the course and not change its requirements for the pediatric dental benefit."

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website