Starting October 1, 2013, individuals and families will have a new option for purchasing health and dental benefits. MNsure is Minnesota's new online insurance marketplace; while North Dakota is on the federal exchange. Initially, individuals will be able to enroll between October 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014. After that, open enrollment will be held annually from October 15 through December 7. Coverage in these new insurance plans is effective January 1, 2014.
In addition to medical insurance, stand-alone pediatric dental plans like those from Delta Dental are considered part of the required benefits called essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To ensure that children have access to dental coverage as early as possible, the ACA includes pediatric dental benefits as part of individual medical benefits. This requirement broadens access to preventive and diagnostic dental services early in life, which helps improve a child's overall health. This new dental benefit gives children up to age 19 access to oral health services.
Purchasing a stand-alone dental plan either on or off the exchange can satisfy the pediatric dental requirement. You do not have to purchase dental coverage through a medical carrier. This is important to know because if you purchase dental through a medical carrier, you will pay a much higher amount before the dental benefits are covered at 100%. That is because the dental services that are part of a medical plan must meet the higher deductible and out-of-pocket maximums of the medical insurance.