Dental Industry Fly-In Urges Congressional Leaders to Support Tax Incentives for Employer-Sponsored Dental Benefits, Expand Consumer Coverage Options and Preserve Oral Health Programs in Medicaid
PLANTATION, Fla., May 3, 2017 (Newswire.com) - Solstice Benefits, Inc. (Solstice), along with other National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) member companies, urged Congressional leaders to support policies beneficial to consumer dental care access during the NADP’s annual advocacy fly-in April 5-6, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
The healthcare debate continues in our nation's capital. In face-to-face meetings with members of Congress, Solstice employees and other dental benefits industry advocates sought continued bipartisan support on three key areas:
- Tax incentives that help keep employer-sponsored dental benefits affordable;
- Preservation of the current Medicaid financing structure to avoid potential cuts to oral health programs for children and adults; and
- Continued access to purchase dental benefits through public health insurance exchanges.
“Solstice’s mission is to improve the lives of those we serve. Meeting with Congress to share how critical dental care is to the public is a natural extension of that,” said Carlos Ferrera, Solstice’s Chief Operating Officer. “It was a wonderful opportunity for our company to discuss with our Senators and Representatives how future legislation could impact the health for our members and millions of Americans. Solstice understands the importance of dental benefits to consumers and their overall health, and we were proud to share this knowledge.”
Solstice representatives and NADP members asked House and Senate members to preserve the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health plans and other incentives that include dental coverage. Dental coverage is the most requested employee benefit after medical benefits with pharmacy coverage. Ninety-two percent of people with private market dental plans have them through an employer, and a large majority (70 percent) of employees share the cost of the plans. If the tax exclusion were to end, more than half would likely drop their benefits if they could no longer pay with pre-tax dollars.
Another critical discussion point during advocacy meetings was the future of Medicaid financing. The recent repeal and replace bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), proposed restructuring Medicaid to a per capita cap program, which would reduce federal dollars going to states. This could lead to elimination of optional covered services like dental care. Twenty-five percent in the U.S. with dental benefits have them through public programs like Medicaid. This includes 45 million children, for whom tooth decay is the number one chronic illness. Preventive, routine dental treatment lowers overall health care costs, including more complex dental procedures and can avoid visits to the emergency room for dental issues and treatment for expensive, chronic medical conditions.
Five years ago, 99 percent of private dental plans were employer-sponsored. Now, that number has dropped to 92 percent. Solstice and the NADP emphasized to members of Congress that the Affordable Care Act exchanges have offered greater access for individuals to purchase dental plans. In 2017, nearly 2 million Americans selected standalone dental plans (SADPs) through exchanges, in addition to others accessing dental benefits bundled with their medical plans.
NADP advocacy teams also encouraged independent purchase of dental benefits in the Marketplaces for 2018 and beyond, which will provide consumers expanded choices of dental benefits. Solstice offers dental products on the exchanges in Florida and New York.
Solstice provides dental and vision insurance coverage to more than 700,000 members nationally, and has built the current No. 1 largest Open Access DHMO provider network in Florida and New York. In 2013, Solstice created an award-winning broker exchange and benefits administration platform — the Solstice Marketplace. In 2016, Solstice was ranked the No. 16 insurance company on Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing private companies list.
For information on Solstice, contact 1.877.760.2247 or visit www.SolsticeBenefits.com
National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a Texas nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, is the representative and recognized resource of the dental benefits industry. NADP is the only national trade organization that includes the full spectrum of dental benefits companies operating in the United States. NADP’s members provide Dental HMO, Dental PPO, Dental Indemnity and Discount Dental products to more than 90 percent of the 211 million Americans with dental benefits.
Source: Solstice Benefits