Webcast:  The Affordable Care Act

AIR DATE:  Wed., Sept. 25, 2013

Audio: http://msweb.bcd.tamhsc.edu/media/avContent/Media/obamacare1.mp3

INTRO: Welcome to Dental Health Check brought to you by Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. I’m your host, Dr. Linda Niessen. It’s great to have you here with us today. Today’s installment of Dental Health Check will focus on the Affordable Care Act. Before we get into today’s segment, we want to make you aware this an interactive program and you are free to ask questions. We will dedicate the last portion of the segment to answering your questions related to today’s topic. 

LINDA NIESSEN: The Patient Protection and Affordable (LEAD-IN): Care Act commonly or the Affordable Care Act or ACA  is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The ACA also nicknamed “Obamacare” aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of health care for individuals and the government. It provides a number of mechanisms—including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges—to increase coverage and affordability. The law also requires insurance companies to cover all applicants within new minimum standards and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex. 

With the new health insurance marketplaces or exchanges set to open October 1, many Americans are still confused about what to do or what insurance options apply to their individual circumstances.  

We are pleased to have a national expert on the ACA, Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans to talk about the ACA, what it means for us and most importantly to the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry family, what it means for oral health care.

Welcome, Evelyn.

EVELYN IRELAND Thank you, Linda. I'm glad to be here.

Evelyn, there’s a lot of information in the news about the new health reform and insurance marketplace, so help us navigate the all the insurance complexities. What is an insurance exchange or marketplace and how will it work?

EVELYN IRELAND  You might think of an exchange as an "Amazon" of health and dental insurance. You can probably find your state exchange by going by 'exchange' and your state's name in Google. Think of it as a web portal with health and dental insurance policies that have been vetted to meet a certain standard of coverage. That web portal is being run in 27 states by the federal government. We have a map to show how the state exchanges are being run. Red states are being run by the federal government in full -- Texas is one of those; the yellow states are partner states where federal government and the state will both be doing parts of the exchange functions; the green states are fully running their own exchanges.

But in thinking about the Amazon analogy, there might be a little twist you need to think of. Exchanges are not open to everyone. They're open to those who are uninsured, or who cannot afford the coverage they are being offered. There is a third -- that is if your employer, a small employer, takes you to the exchange.  

SLIDE: National Association of Dental Plans

LINDA NIESSEN There will be subsidies available to some in this plan -- how will those subsidies work?

EVELYN IRELAND Subsidies, first of all, will not be available to everyone. If you have an income that is between 100 and 400% of poverty, you can get a subsidy on the individual exchange. 

LINDA NIESSEN Explain the metal levels or plan options for coverage  as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each?


LINDA NIESSEN I’m sure for many people the issue with insurance or the lack of it boils down to money. We know that there will be subsidies available to help offset the cost of the premiums, but how will that work and who is eligible for the subsidy?


LINDA NIESSEN If people don’t sign up for an insurance plan, what penalties will they face?


LINDA NIESSEN How does the new reform affect those who receive insurance through COBRA?


LINDA NIESSEN How will flexible spending accounts be affected by the new reform?


LINDA NIESSEN Evelyn, let’s use me for example. Let’s say my spouse is on my insurance and he works full time and his employer offers health benefits, can I be forced to drop him from my benefits?


LINDA NIESSEN Let’s talk now about dentistry. How will the Affordable Care Act affect dental coverage and will it continue to be separate from medical coverage?  


LINDA NIESSEN Are there any other dental plan changes we can expect as a result of the Care Act?


LINDA NIESSEN So Evelyn, will dental insurance be required? 


LINDA NIESSEN I know you have been traveling and talking about the Affordable Care Act. From your perspective, what health care reforms most concern the dental community?


LINDA NIESSEN Most people appear to be concerned about the cost. Based on your perspective, will we see an increase or decrease in dental premiums with the ACA?


LINDA NIESSEN What will dentists need to do under the Affordable Care Act?


LINDA NIESSEN Is there any concern that medical/dental providers’ recommendations for care will be influenced by the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act?


LINDA NIESSEN In addition to costs, most people want to know if they will be able to keep their same dentist or physician?


LINDA NIESSEN Evelyn, this has been helpful in understanding the complexities of the Affordable Care Act and the insurance marketplace. We have a number of viewers with us today who may have questions. Are you willing to stay a little longer and answer a few questions?

EVELYN IRELAND Sure. I’d be happy to. 

LINDA NIESSEN Reads questions


LINDA NIESSEN Thank you all for your questions. We are now out of time.  Evelyn, do you have final comments for the audience?


LINDA NIESSEN Evelyn, again I want to thank you for your excellent advice today and I want to thank all of you who are participating in Dental Health Check. Whether you are participating from your office or your home, we are pleased that you could join us today and on behalf of Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry I’m happy to have served as your host. I’m Dr. Linda Niessen and I hope to see you again on the next installment of Dental Health Check. Bye now.