This post comes from Beth Orenstein at partner site Insure.com.
If you thought that buying an Obamacare health insurance plan that meets your family’s needs was confusing, wait until you tackle dental coverage for your children.
The first question is: Under Obamacare, are you required to buy dental insurance for your children if they’re younger than 19? The answer is yes and no, says Colin Reusch, senior policy analyst at the Children’s Dental Health Project in Washington, D.C.
“It depends on where you live and how you’re buying your family’s health coverage,” he says.
Every state has a marketplace where families can buy health insurance. If you qualify for tax credits or subsidies to help pay the premiums, you must buy insurance on your state’s marketplace to get them. Every state’s marketplace is required to offer at least one pediatric dental plan. The dental coverage can be part of a health plan that covers medical care, or it can be a separate, stand-alone plan for dental only.
In some states you have both options, and in some states your only option is a separate dental plan, says Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for DentalPlans in Plantation, Florida, which offers dental savings plans.
No penalty for not having dental coverage
Here’s where it gets tricky: If you buy a health plan on the marketplace that does not include pediatric dental coverage, you must buy a separate plan to have it. However, if you don’t, you will not be penalized, Chase says. In essence, that means while the law requires state marketplaces to offer dental coverage for children, families don’t have to buy it. (Exceptions: Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada and Washington do require that you buy children’s dental coverage when buying through their marketplaces.)