Does Obamacare cover dental insurance? The short answer is yes. You actually obtain dental coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obamacare is just a slang term for it. You can use the federal health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov to find and compare dental plans available in your area and 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 stand-alone 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.

Key Takeaways

  • 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 Obamacare dental insurance plans: high and low.

  • The high coverage level has higher premiums but lower co-payments and deductibles. You’ll pay more every month but less when you use dental services.
  • The low coverage level has lower premiums but higher co-payments and deductibles. 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, co-payments, 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 vs. Adults

Under the Affordable Care Act, dental insurance is treated differently for adults and children 18 and under. It 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. In contrast, dental coverage isn’t considered an essential health benefit for adults, and insurers don’t have to offer dental care as part of their health plans. Though it must be available to you, buying it is optional.

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 July 2020 it is still being contested, with a case that originated in Texas currently in front of the Supreme Court attempting to have it declared unconstitutional. However, all congressional 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 that you’ll be billed separately for the coverage.