Under the Affordable Care Act, dental coverage is considered an “essential health benefit” for children. That means if you’re purchasing coverage for someone 18 or younger, dental coverage must be available as part of a health plan or as a stand-alone plan. All qualified health plans sold on the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces must also include pediatric vision coverage. For adults, however, vision and dental care coverage is different under the law.
The Affordable Care Act does not stipulate that adults have to carry vision or dental insurance. In the past, many people may have had combined health, dental and vision insurance. So it’s important to look at your policy carefully to see what’s covered.
- If dental or vision care is covered as part of your health insurance plan, you pay one monthly premium for everything
- If dental or vision care is not covered in the plan, you can purchase stand-alone policies to cover those services
It’s important to note, you can purchase dental and vision policies at any time — not just during the open enrollment period. You will pay a separate monthly fee for these stand-alone policies, according to the federal government. In terms of coverage and cost, there are typically a number of options for dental and vision care, including HMO and PPO options.
If you have a separate, stand-alone dental plan, you can cancel it at any time during the year by not making payments on the dental plan premium. This will cause your dental coverage to end. As long as you continue to pay your health plan premium, you’ll stay enrolled in your health plan. However, if you want to keep your health insurance plan, do not cancel your dental plan on HealthCare.gov. Unfortunately, if you select “Remove” from the “My Plans and Programs” under your dental plan, that action will cancel both your dental and health plans.