Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

May 20, 2021

State Senator Matt Lesser Leads Debate and Passage of Legislation that Provides Dental and Vision Health Insurance to Children

Today, State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee, led debate during the Senate Session on legislation that will provide and extend dental and vision health coverage for children, stepchildren, and other dependent children through the age of 26.

“Dental and vision coverage is essential for young adults,” said Sen. Lesser. “Over a decade ago, we allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans. Allowing young people to stay on their parents’ dental and vision coverage to age 26 is incredibly good policy and ensures that they get continuity of care. With limited income, young adults are the most likely age group to go without coverage.”

Under Senate Bill 1004, ‘An Act Concerning Dental And Vision Insurance Coverage For Children, Stepchildren, And Other Dependent Children,’ these children would be able to retain dental and vision insurance coverage under their parents’ insurance policies until they turn 26 years old or obtain their own coverage through an employer. Currently, young people are kicked off their parents, guardian’s dental and vision health coverage plans at age 19.

In 2008, legislation was passed to allow children to remain on their parents’ health plan until age 26, however, dental and vision coverage was not included. Oral care is crucial for other health conditions. Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Vision is just as important. Regular eye exams are an important part of finding eye diseases early and preserving vision.

Many individuals at age 19 do not qualify for benefits through their employer and cannot be on their family plans due to their age. Thousands of students after high school and through their college years don’t have the ability to receive dental and vision healthcare coverage which is a huge disadvantage when it comes to this crucial care. Out of pocket costs can be detrimental to young individuals which leads to ending routine care.

Ages 19 to 26 are a time of transition for many, including college or graduate students, and people just starting their careers and families. Dental services are expensive and young people often have financial barriers that prohibit them from paying for care out of pocket.

According to a study conducted by Cigna, every dollar spent on preventative care (i.e. exams, cleanings, X-rays etc.) can help you save between $8 and $50 on restorative and emergency treatments. This is because preventative care is considered to be the most affordable form of dentistry. If a person wants to save money, the best thing they can do is stay proactive and commit to regular dental checkups every six months. Increasing the time frame a child is covered, decreases the chances of harmful diseases in the future.