Live Chat
Washington State Dental Association

ADA Continues Q&A on Health Care Reform

Over the last six weeks, the American Dental Association (ADA) has run a series of four Question and Answer segments on health care reform and its impact on the dental profession. Here are the links to all four pieces:

Q&A Part 1
Q&A Part 2
Q&A Part 3
Q&A Part 4

In early October, WSDA and WDIA will unveil a robust collection of Washington state-specific Q&As related to health care reform. In the mean time, specific questions about health care reform can be directed to WSDA or WDIA by calling 800-448-3368.

Attached below are a series of questions from Part 2 of the ADA's Q&A series related to health care reform projections.


How many additional children may receive dental benefits under the ACA?

Approximately 8.7 million children could gain extensive dental coverage through the ACA by 2018. For children, the expansion will be almost evenly split among Medicaid (3.2 million), health insurance exchanges or marketplaces (3 million) and employer sponsored insurance (2.5 million). 

How many additional adults may receive dental benefits under the ACA?

About 17.7 million adults could gain some sort of dental coverage through the ACA. However, given that many states have only limited or emergency dental benefits through Medicaid, only 4.5 million adults will gain extensive dental benefits through Medicaid. About 800,000 adults will gain dental benefits through the health insurance exchanges.

By what magnitude might the ACA reduce the numbers of adults and children who have no dental coverage?

The ACA has a bigger impact on children. The number of children without dental benefits could be reduced by approximately 55 percent. On the other hand, the number of adults without dental benefits might be reduced by approximately 5 percent.

How many additional Medicaid dental visits will the ACA generate?

Assuming that the expansion population utilizes Medicaid dental services in the same pattern as today's Medicaid beneficiaries, the expansion is estimated to generate an additional 2.9 million pediatric dental visits and 7.5 million adult dental visits.

How many additional dental visits will the ACA generate through health insurance exchanges or employer sponsored insurance?

The ACA is expected to add 11 million pediatric private dental visits through expansion of dental benefits through the exchanges and employer sponsored insurance. The ACA also will generate 1.7 million adult private dental visits through expansion of dental benefits in the health insurance exchanges.

What impact will the ACA have on dental spending nationwide?

It is estimated that the ACA will increase U.S. dental spending by an estimated $4 billion, which is less than 4 percent of current national dental expenditures. The largest effect will be seen in the Medicaid population, generating $2.4 billion in Medicaid dental spending. This represents a 28 percent increase over 2010 Medicaid dental spending levels with adults accounting for roughly two-thirds of the increase. An additional $1.6 billion in expenditures is expected by adults and children gaining private dental benefits through exchanges and employer sponsored coverage.

Are state specific projections available?

Yes. State-by-state projections are available for the number of adult and child dental beneficiaries, as well as the number of future dental visits in each state. State-by-state projections are available online.

Posted: / Last Updated: