On Oct. 12, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding the availability of limited-scope insurance plans. Specifically, the executive order directs the Secretaries of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider regulatory changes that would expand the availability of multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and short-term insurance plans that are exempt from many of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirements, including essential health benefits like pediatric dental. Such changes would decrease the availability of health plans that include pediatric dental benefits.
The White House also announced it would discontinue cost-sharing (CSR) payments to insurance plans for lower income Americans. CSRs paid by the federal government enable insurers to cover a larger percentage of service costs and reduce copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles for nearly seven million Americans. While CSRs do not apply to stand-alone dental plans, the elimination of these payments would increase premiums for health plans that include pediatric dental benefits. By making coverage more expensive in general, the elimination of CSRs would make it more difficult for families to afford pediatric dental coverage if their health plan does not include it.
Implementing these changes will take time as each of these actions will need to go through the agency rulemaking process and are likely to face legal challenges.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD will continue to monitor and report on any developments relating to these executive actions as they arise.