Voices celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month
Emphasis on need to improve pediatric dental benefits in essential state’s health benefits packages
WASHINGTON – Voices for America’s Children, the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month with a call to action for improving pediatric dental benefits for the 16.5 million children going without dental care each year.
Beginning in 2014, typical health insurance plans must cover certain services and benefits to customers — a victory for children and families won through the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform legislation passed in 2010. These essential health benefits are now being decided, and how many services they cover could determine the standard of care American children receive.
“National Children’s Dental Health Month is particularly important this year as federal and state governments work to determine comprehensive the pediatric dental benefit within state essential health benefits packages,” said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children. “Children have unique dental needs and these cannot go unaddressed during this critical time in our nation’s health care history.”
There are few examples of child-only coverage in today’s market, which adds to the unique challenge of defining the oral health component of the essential health benefits package. States have an opportunity to ensure that all children have access to quality oral health care by ensuring the affordability and comprehensiveness of pediatric dental benefits in their state’s essential health benefits.
“Great strides have been made for child health in the past two years, but much work remains,” said Bentley. “Federal authorities estimate that millions of children are eligible for health services like CHIP but not enrolled.
“Meeting this challenge will require more public education, but states also need to streamline their process for enrolling children,” Bentley added. “We can eliminate unnecessary red-tape in the application process, like mandatory interviews, in order to help children get vital care.”
In partnership with the Campaign for Dental Health, Voices for America’s Children hosts www.ILikeMyTeeth.org, a website that highlights the benefits of community water fluoridation as a proven prevention strategy to fight against childhood tooth decay. The Campaign for Dental Health works with local children’s and oral health advocates, health professionals and scientists to preserve our nation’s gains in oral health.
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As the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, Voices for America’s Children (Voices) has been on the forefront of every major child policy victory for the past quarter-century. With 60 members nationwide, Voices speaks up for kids, and mobilizes and advocates for public policies to improve the lives of all children, especially those most vulnerable, throughout the United States. Visit us at www.voices.org.
Voices is a founding member of the Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of more than 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations. www.childrensleadershipcouncil.com.