BACKGROUND: Previous study results have indicated that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance expansion for dependents (called the dependent coverage expansion) also led to a dental insurance expansion for dependents. In this study, the author examines whether this expansion is due to changes in employer-sponsored dental insurance.
METHODS: The author compared enrollment and oral health care use between 2 groups of young adults in employer-sponsored dental plans managed by Delta Dental of Michigan before and after the initial implementation of the ACA: adults aged 20 through 24 years (eligible for the expansion) and adults aged 30 through 34 years (ineligible).
RESULTS: The ACA dependent coverage expansion led to an increase in both dental plan enrollment rates (5.38%; P < .01) and oral health care use rates (3.57%; P < .1) among adults aged 20 through 24 years relative to adults aged 30 through 34 years.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the ACA's dependent coverage expansion led to an increase in dental plan enrollment and oral health care use in Michigan, the effects seen by other insurers and states are yet to be determined, although the direction likely is similar.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: This study's results suggest that employers responded to the ACA dependent coverage expansion by expanding dependent oral health care coverage.
- Dental insurance
- access to care
- Insurance Coverage
- Young Adult
- United States
- Insurance, Dental
- Insurance, Health
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
ASJC Scopus subject areas