In Case You Missed It: Baltimore Marathon Photos
NewsOpinion

Affordable dental care for children needed

Family

Thank you for placing John Fritze's article on children's dental insurance on your front page ("Concerns rise over cost of child dental insurance," March 22). I applaud U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and his continued focus on the importance of oral health care access for our children. As reported by the Surgeon General 13 years ago, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Nearly 80 percent of the disease is borne by about 25 percent of our population. These are the children who need the essential health benefits the most, and they are the ones most likely to be vulnerable to delays in enrollment and inability to utilize dental services if their parents cannot afford to pay for coverage.

The final rule released from the Department of Health and Human Services eliminates the mandate for pediatric dental benefits and stipulates a maximum out-of-pocket limit per child that might prove burdensome to many families not covered by private insurance or Medicaid. Although individuals younger than age 19 will be eligible for dental benefits, if the care is not affordable, it will not be readily attainable. Consequently, families may make the difficult decision not to enroll in a dental plan for their children.

The thoughtful proposal generated from Senator Cardin and his colleagues seems to request that the out-of-pocket expenses be calculated according to family income, and that amount be deducted from the amount of the health exchange's medical plan.

In whatever fashion the stand-alone dental benefits are constructed, they should not pose a financial or administrative impediment to families. Continued collaboration by consumers, organized dentistry, third party payers and policymakers can lead us to an effective common ground that integrates access to dental care with fiscal reality. Optimum oral health and oral health care for our nation's children are too important to be left on the sidelines.

Leslie E. Grant, D.D.S., Catonsville

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    Family
    • The risk Ebola exposed [Editorial]
      The risk Ebola exposed [Editorial]

      The Centers for Disease Control is urging people not to panic over the pair of nurses who tested positive for Ebola at the hospital in Dallas where an infected man was treated last month. Yet polls show the public isn't buying it — a recent survey found nearly 80 percent of...

    • County farm stand [Editorial]
      County farm stand [Editorial]

      Fall is a big time of year for agricultural tourism, from hay rides to apple picking, pumpkin carving and corn mazes. Increasingly, farmers are exploring ways to supplement their income and assure their financial viability, which is particularly important in a state like Maryland where...

    • Police in campaign ads [Poll]
      Police in campaign ads [Poll]
    • Frozen eggs and a woman's career [Commentary]
      Frozen eggs and a woman's career [Commentary]

      News that Apple would begin in January to pay for women employees to have their eggs frozen so they could delay motherhood — and that Facebook had already begun doing it — has jumpstarted the discussion of women and work/life balance.

    • Ebola is no Spanish Flu [Commentary]
      Ebola is no Spanish Flu [Commentary]

      The recent death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42-year-old who traveled to Dallas from disease-ravaged Liberia while infected with the Ebola virus, along with the confirmed infection of two of Duncan's nurses, has created widespread concern that an epidemic is imminent in the United States.

    • College: You get out what you put in [Commentary]
      College: You get out what you put in [Commentary]

      I've read the tweets, the blogs and the experts. Yes, yes, I understand that a college degree doesn't guarantee a post-college career. But don't tell this to my peers. Far too often I hear them talk about how they enrolled in college because they need a degree to get a job. While...

    Comments
    Loading