Posted September 08, 2018 11:17:22With the average premium on dental insurance going down since the Affordable Care Act was passed, some are wondering why it is so low.
“I think the ACA has actually made it cheaper,” says Jason Zweig, chief economist for healthcare consulting firm Avalere Health.
“Dental insurance was a very expensive way of covering medical expenses.
People now have more options and it is much cheaper.”
In a separate research report published by Avalere, Zweigs co-authors found that the average cost of dental care for the average family is about $1,700.
That’s lower than a year ago, but it’s still much more than what people pay for private health insurance.
The average for a family of four is about the same, at $1.1 million.
The Avalere study found that premiums for a typical home were down by more than $300 in 2018.
That’s largely because the Affordable Health Care Act expanded coverage and gave people more choices, said Zweige.
People are less likely to pay out of pocket for medical care, but they’re also less likely than in the past to seek care.
“People are more likely to look at a medical plan with a deductible or out of network,” Zweigl said.
“So they’re less likely (to go to emergency rooms).”
Dental coverage for families is probably the most important part of the Affordable Healthcare Act, Zwig said.
It’s the first thing people think of when they think about the ACA.
“People are paying a lot less in premiums now, but the premium has gone up in the last few years, said Dr. Peter T. Smith, a cardiologist at the University of Pittsburgh.
He believes the ACA is helping people avoid high-cost plans and lower premiums.
The ACA has reduced the amount of time people spend in hospital, and people are spending less on out-of-pocket costs.
People may be less likely in the future to go to the emergency room for a dental checkup, Smith said.
The Affordable Care Law also allows insurers to charge higher premiums for those who are sicker than others. “
The ACA did not significantly impact the cost of the insurance,” Smith said, citing the fact that people are not required to get coverage or pay premiums to get dental care.
The Affordable Care Law also allows insurers to charge higher premiums for those who are sicker than others.
That means premiums are going up, said Adam Smith, senior director of consumer research at Avalere.
“I would be surprised if that was not the case.”
People who are in higher-risk groups such as people with high cholesterol or diabetes are more expensive than people with lower-risk health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People in high-risk communities can also get higher deductibles and out- of network coverage.
That makes dental insurance more expensive for people who are not healthy.
Zweig and Smith both say the ACA also has led to an increase in the number of people being covered by private health insurers.
“In 2018, the rate of growth of insurers was about 4 percent,” Zwieg said.
But the ACA was the only major legislation to impact the size of private health plans, which was lower than in prior years.
The rise in private health insurer enrollment was due in part to the ACA, said Robert Berenson, an insurance analyst with the consultancy firm Gartner.
“It was just a natural progression from ACA to ACA, but with ACA you saw the first signs of the ACA growing out of control,” he said.
Some insurers have also begun to offer cheaper plans.
For instance, Medica, the health insurer for the city of Seattle, started offering cheaper plans on Tuesday.
Some plans are only available in certain areas, so Medica plans are available in areas with high rates of people with diabetes and heart disease.
“You’ll see more and more affordable plans coming,” said Smith, noting that the ACA will have to continue to have its effects on the health care industry.
“We’ve seen more and further insurance companies come out and say, ‘No more.’
We’re going to have to see it through to the end.”