From court rulings to new legislation that could affect your practice, FYI brings you the latest dental policy developments.
Health premiums will rise, health care spending will decrease by as much as $11.4 billion and more than 3 million people could become uninsured if Congress does not extend the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) subsidies, according to a new study released by the Urban Institute.
Originally passed in 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ARPA increased premium tax credits for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans, drawing many more Americans into state health exchanges, where many in turn purchased optional adult dental coverage. Currently under the ARPA, the full cost of COBRA premiums for medical, pediatric dental and vision are subsidized for individuals who qualify after involuntary termination or reduction of hours. Without the ARPA COBRA subsidy, qualifying individuals must pay those premiums themselves, and many once purchasing optional adult dental would likely drop such coverage.
On May 2, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law Georgia House Bill 1308, sponsored by Delta Dental Insurance Company. The legislation allows plan sponsors to consent to electronic mailings on behalf of their employees if certain criteria are met, including that the plan sponsor routinely uses electronic communications with their employees and the option to opt-out of electronic delivery is available to all employees at any time. The legislation applies to health benefit plans and dental and vision carriers licensed to do business in Georgia. Supporters of the law hope that employer-based “opt-in” protocols can help ensure more consumers receive their documents faster and at lower cost, making for a better overall patient-provider experience.
President Joe Biden’s administration is blocking Gov. Kemp’s attempt to privatize the state’s Affordable Care Act program. Kemp had planned to bypass healthcare.gov and have residents shop for federally subsidized health insurance through private agents. The move could breach federal rules on insurance waivers and cause too many people to drop coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
A Minnesota dental hygienist is petitioning the Supreme Court to rule on her medical marijuana case. The hygienist, Susan K. Musta, began purchasing cannabis to treat chronic pain due to work-related injuries in 2019 under Minnesota’s legal medical cannabis program and was not reimbursed for it under her workers’ compensation coverage for workplace injuries. Minnesota courts ruled that the federal Controlled Substances Act prevented her insurer from paying for medical cannabis, but the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court reached opposite conclusions in similar cases, prompting Musta and her lawyers to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the issue.