Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
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
    • Annapolis Library to expand in place
      Annapolis Library to expand in place

      Anne Arundel County officials have approved plans to double the size of the Annapolis Library and — here is the best part — keep it right where it is. In my neighborhood.

    • Should murder suspect mistakenly freed face charges? [Poll]
      Should murder suspect mistakenly freed face charges? [Poll]
    • The NTSB's call for safety
      The NTSB's call for safety

      It's a miracle that nobody was killed May 28 of last year when a Mack truck hauling debris to a local recycling center pulled into the path of a moving CSX train in Rosedale shortly before 2 p.m. The resulting collision caused 15 cars in the 45-car train to derail, including three...

    • Why narratives are more powerful than ideas
      Why narratives are more powerful than ideas

      The only reason an idea's time ever arrives is that some story gives birth to it

    • Abolish sovereign immunity
      Abolish sovereign immunity

      In the past few months, this country has been rocked by the unfolding horror story at dozens of veterans hospitals. There have been reports of veteran deaths due to malpractice, serious mismanagement at all levels of Veterans Affairs and the resignation, in disgrace, of the VA secretary. In...

    • Ebola: taking practical steps
      Ebola: taking practical steps

      The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is truly terrifying. The New England Journal of Medicine's lead article in the Oct. 16 issue states that "the current epidemiological outlook is bleak" in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and that "unless control measures improve quickly,...

    Comments
    Loading