The Affordable Care Act’s inclusion of pediatric dental coverage as an essential health benefit has small employers facing a dilemma: Whether to embed dental coverage within a medical plan or offer dental benefits as a stand-alone plan. Market confusion about what these plan options include and exactly what the health reform law requires highlights the need for expert benefit adviser help.

The ACA requires non-grandfathered health plans in the individual and small group market to cover 10 categories of essential health benefits (EHBs), which include pediatric vision and dental care. Yet, while most of the essential health benefits are easily embedded within a medical benefit plan, dental coverage has typically been offered by employers as a standalone plan.

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