New ACA Study Finds Increase in Preventative Care

In dentistry, prevention is key with many oral health conditions being completely avoidable with proper care and attention. With that in mind, a recent study brings great news to the dental industry. According to a Medline Plus article, research shows an increase in the number of young adults that are using certain types of preventative care after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

Lead author of the study, Xuesong Han, director of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society, states that “Although our study is an early evaluation, there are benefits to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended-benefits provisions.” The health-reform law allows grown children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26, causing a significant increase of 19 to 25-year-olds getting preventative care, including routine checkups, blood pressure measurements, and dental care. While the law doesn’t require insurers to cover dental checkups, many dental insurance companies have opted to do so, leading to a statistical increase in the number of young adults with private dental insurance as well.

The Affordable Care Act has received a great deal of criticism since passing into law, but according to Cheryl Fish-Parcham, the private insurance program director at the consumer health care advocacy group Families USA, “This study points out one of the strengths of the ACA. This has improved people’s access to care.” For or against Obamacare, you can’t argue much with that. Fish-Parcham also predicted that this provision will become even more important in the future, assisting young adults in the transition to their own plans. Continuity of care is crucial, even in young adults who may think they don’t need insurance because they appear to be healthy.

The study compared the change in use of medical services for more than 3,300 people, aged 19 to 25 in 2009, before the health-reform law was passed, with more than 6,800 young adults who were the same age in 2011 and 2012.

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