Yes, you can obtain dental coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. You can use the federal health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov to find and compare dental plans available in your area and to enroll in one if you choose. Generally, you will actually go to your own state's Health Insurance Marketplace site to enroll.
Some of the general health insurance options available to you may include dental care. If not, you can choose to add on a standalone dental insurance plan (and pay a separate premium for it).
In any event, you must enroll in a health plan to obtain access to a stand-alone dental plan.
- Dental care insurance is available via the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
- Two categories of Health Insurance Marketplace dental plans exist: high and low.
- Dental coverage is an essential health benefit for children under 18, though not for adults.
Dental Plan Categories
There are two categories of Marketplace dental plans: high and low.
- The high coverage level has higher premiums but lower copayments and deductibles. So you'll pay more every month, but less when you use dental services.
- The low coverage level has lower premiums but higher copayments and deductibles. So you’ll pay less every month, but more when you use dental services.
When you compare dental plans in the Marketplace, you’ll find details about each plan’s costs, copayments, deductibles, and services covered.
You can’t buy a Marketplace dental plan unless you’re buying a health plan at the same time.
Dental Coverage for Children
Under the Affordable Care Act, dental insurance is treated differently for adults and for children 18 and under.
Dental coverage is an essential health benefit for children. This means if you’re getting health coverage for someone 18 or younger, dental coverage must be available for your child either as part of a health plan or as a stand-alone plan. While dental coverage for children must be available to you, however, you don’t have to buy it. Buying dental care is optional.
In contrast, dental coverage isn't an essential health benefit for adults, and insurers don’t have to offer dental care as part of their health plans.
The Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 with the intent to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and ensure that a larger number of Americans get medical insurance. As of late 2019, many of its provisions are still being contested, although all efforts to repeal the law have so far failed.
Some of the rules have changed, however. The annual enrollment period has shrunk and efforts to promote and support the program have tapered off. If you want to use healthcare.gov to obtain coverage, be sure to find out the dates of the next enrollment period.
Signing Up for Dental Insurance
If you want dental insurance, the health insurance marketplace gives you a way to easily check for options and compare prices. If you sign up for a stand-alone dental plan, remember you'll be billed separately for that coverage.