More than 33,000 Enrollees Have Purchased Optional Adult Dental Coverage Since Covered California Began Offering It One Month Ago, and 34,000 New Enrollees Have Selected Health Plans
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced Wednesday that it is seeing very strong interest in the new optional dental coverage offered for adults through the health exchange. More than 33,000 people have enrolled in family dental coverage since Covered California members began renewing their health insurance plans on Oct. 12.
“While we have long known that California consumers want insurance coverage for dental care, we have been surprised by the extraordinarily high enrollment, both by those who have health coverage through Covered California and by those signing up for health coverage for the first time,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said.
This year, Covered California makes it possible for consumers to purchase optional dental coverage for 2016 as an “add-on” to the health coverage they purchase through the exchange. Pediatric dental benefits for members under 19 years of age continue to be included with health coverage.
As of Nov. 17, approximately 6,000 new enrollees had elected to purchase a family dental plan at the time of enrollment. In addition, more than 27,000 current members had chosen to purchase a family dental plan at the time of renewal.
The family dental plan offers adults the option of receiving dental coverage outside of the general health plans at an additional cost. Unlike premiums for health coverage, premiums for dental coverage through a family dental plan are not subsidized through Covered California, but dental plans offered through the exchange are actively purchased and must be offered on a “guaranteed issue” basis — meaning the coverage is available to anyone who wants it regardless of any pre-existing dental health conditions.
Open enrollment for health insurance coverage and for the new 2016 dental coverage for adults began on Nov. 1 and will continue through Jan. 31.
Covered California also announced Wednesday that more than 34,000 new consumers had selected a health insurance plan through the exchange since open enrollment began.
“Enrollment continues at a healthy pace, with thousands of people signing up for coverage every day,” Lee said. “Now is the time for anyone who does not have health insurance to visit CoveredCA.com and explore their options. Thousands of people stand ready to assist anyone interested in enrolling confidentially and at no cost.”
Lee emphasized that there is no requirement to enroll in a family dental plan. The family dental plan is optional and is primarily intended to offer affordable dental coverage to adults that was not previously available. Families should consider that adding their children to a family dental plan will result in an extra cost for the same dental services they already receive in their standard health insurance plan. The most likely reason to enroll a child in a family dental plan is if a dental provider they prefer for their child is not offered through their Covered California health plan.
Covered California is notifying existing enrollees of the availability of new family dental plans that include dental benefits for adults.
“We are working to get the word out to our current enrollees that even if they want to keep their health coverage just as it is, they have the opportunity to come in and add dental coverage for 2016,” Lee said.
Family dental plans are offered by Access Dental Plan, Anthem Blue Cross of California, Delta Dental of California, Dental Health Services and Premier Access.
Covered California is offering both dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) and dental preferred provider organization (DPPO) plans, giving consumers a choice in the type of plan that will work best for them. There is no financial assistance available for the optional family dental plans, and there is no tax penalty for choosing not to enroll.
Covered California’s third historic open-enrollment period is aimed at reducing the number of uninsured in California. An estimated 2.2 million uninsured Californians are eligible to get help to make insurance more affordable by enrolling in Covered California or Medi-Cal.
Those who need insurance should go to CoveredCA.com to learn about their options and find locations where they can go to get free, confidential help enrolling.
More information about family dental plans, including the rate booklet, is available at www.CoveredCA.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/dental-coverage.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.