California officials disagree over dental coverage options


California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones objects to the state's health insurance exchange's handling of children's dental benefits, saying dental plans should be included within regular health plans sold on the online marketplace. Only two weeks ago, Covered California selected six insurers to offer dental coverage on the exchange, but five of those insurers will be providing such coverage through stand-alone plans. "I object to Covered California telling health insurers and HMOs that they are restricted from including pediatric dental coverage as part of their major medical insurance" both inside and outside the exchange, Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "I believe Covered California has exceeded its authority" because the reform law requires pediatric dental services be considered an essential health benefit that all insurers must provide on the exchange. What's more, Jones believes the stand-alone dental plans will increase consumer costs. But Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee disagrees, saying the exchange "is very much following the spirit and intent of both the federal law and all applicable state laws." He added that Covered California is still examining its dental coverage options. "A lot of the issues around pediatric dental are complex and confusing. The board has not made any final decisions," Lee told the LA Times. Article