Hispanic children and adolescents still have the highest levels of untreated tooth decay in the country, according to a CDC NCHS Data Brief (No. 104, Aug. 2012). This shows how essential it is to extend the funding of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program – legislation that would continue to guarantee healthcare coverage to low-income children and pregnant women across the country, providing dental benefits that would otherwise be unavailable to millions of people.
The CHIP extension bill includes improvements upon the existing CHIP program such as performance incentives to offer supplemental dental coverage to kids who are dentally uninsured or underinsured, and additional performance incentives to ensure that any coverage of pregnant women through CHIP includes dental coverage.
The legislation also explicitly requires that dental costs be tracked (in addition to medical costs) in order to ensure that a family does not exceed the 5% income cost-sharing limit.
HDA’s vision is to eliminate oral health disparities in the Hispanic community, and supports programs like CHIP that work toward the fulfillment of this vision. Our goal is to ensure the CHIP extension bill S.2461 achieves the support it needs and deserves to pass Congress, like it has had in the past, in order to continue the fight against the oral health disparities in the Hispanic community, and to one day see healthy smiles everywhere.