With rising healthcare costs and plenty of uncertainty within the health insurance industry, millions of Americans are at risk of struggling even more with their dental care.
Currently, at least one in five Americans has one or more untreated cavities, and that number could soon significantly increase and more and more U.S. citizens are unable to afford medical and dental coverage. The AAPD recommends that kids and teens see a pediatric dentist every six months to for regular checkups including an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and occasional x-rays to prevent cavities and other problems.
According to Business Insider, nationwide funding for community health centers is in jeopardy of shutting down. The Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), which provides 70% of all funding to the community centers across the country, expired at the end of September.
More than 1,300 community health centers that provide both primary care and dental care are currently at risk of losing all their funding.
The CHCF gave approximately $3.6 billion to these centers last year, along with an addition $1.5 billion from annual federal appropriations. The CHCF was a part of the Affordable Care Act’s 2015 bill with a plan to last five years, but was extended another two years in 2015.
I am very worried that Congress will do nothing, that the president will do nothing, and that we will be faced with making — I don’t want to overstate — but catastrophic decisions,” said Marjorie Hill, CEO of Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in New York.
For millions of Americans relying on these community health centers for basic medical and dental assistance, they could soon be at risk of having no medical care available to them at all.
According to ABC 7, there are still ways to seek affordable dental care without these community centers or sufficient insurance coverage.
“A dental savings plan isn’t health insurance but it does connect you to a network of dentists who have agreed to provide discounts on their services,” said Donna Rosato,” money editor for Consumer Reports.
Dental savings plans typically cost about $100 per year for an individual or $250 for an entire family.