The Importance of Dental Insurance for Children

Posted on March 25, 2014 in Children’s Oral Health

Many parents don't realize that cavities are nearly 100 percent preventable. Babies are born with a healthy mouth and teeth. So from birth, it's important to establish good oral health habits to reduce cavity-causing bacteria.

Unfortunately, the majority of children in Illinois still end up with cavities. Fifty-three percent of Illinois third graders have experienced cavities. Among those children, 29 percent have untreated cavities and 5 percent have cavities that need urgent dental treatment.

One of the best ways to make sure you keep the cavities away and creating healthy smiles is to make sure your child has dental coverage. Getting your child to the dentist is key to good oral health, and studies show that kids with dental coverage get to the dentist more often.

During the debate over health care reform, Congress recognized the importance of children's dental coverage by making it an essential health benefit. Today, there are several options for Illinois parents to make sure their kids are covered.

• If you don't have insurance for your kids through an employer, you can purchase children's dental coverage through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace or directly from select insurance companies. Delta Dental of Illinois offers plans either way, but note that the deadline for enrolling through the Marketplace is March 31.

• You can purchase children's dental coverage as part of a medical plan or from a stand-alone dental insurance company. Many Illinois residents choose stand-alone dental benefit plans because of the large dentist networks and overall value they provide. For example, since many medical plans may require the policy's annual deductible and out-of-pocket maximums be met before paying dental benefits, a stand-alone dental policy may expand benefits and reduce overall expenses.

Children's dental plans that are compliant with new Affordable Care Act guidelines focus on prevention. That helps make sure your children get the oral health care they need at a cost you can afford. Serious oral health problems can be expensive and time-consuming to treat. The fact is people with dental insurance are more likely to get the preventive care they need and avoid costly and serious oral health problems.