How Many People Received Dental Insurance through Obamacare Exchanges?

By Jenifer Dorsey

Obamacare Dental EnrollmentNumerous health insurance enrollment reports and analyses have been made available since Obamacare’s 2014 open-enrollment period concluded March 31, 2014. While it seems little information is available regarding the purchase of dental insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, some data on adult and child dental benefits is beginning to come to light.

Adult dental enrollment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 1.1 million people selected a standalone dental insurance plan through the federally facilitated marketplace (i.e., the federally facilitated health insurance exchange) between Oct. 1, 2013, and April 19, 2014.[1] One in three (34 percent) adult dental insurance enrollees were 18 to 34 years old. The HHS report did not include state-based exchange numbers. Thirty-six states participated in the federally facilitated marketplace.

Pediatric dental enrollment

An American Dental Association Health Policy Institute analysis of federally facilitated marketplace and California exchange data found that 88,101 children (individuals younger than 18) obtained standalone dental insurance plans during 2014 open enrollment. [2] In states where pediatric dental benefits were only available through stand-alone dental plans, the take-up rate was 26.1 percent. These numbers account for the standard open-enrollment period, which ran from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, as well as the special enrollment period that extended through April 19, 2014.

Other dental plan enrollment data

At this time, no data is available regarding the number of children and adults who received dental insurance benefits as part of a health insurance plan. However, 73 percent of health insurance plans in the marketplace do not include dental benefits according to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s report “Update: Take-Up of Pediatric Dental Benefits in Health Insurance Marketplaces Still Limited.”

Some states that operated their own exchanges have made dental insurance enrollment numbers available at their exchange websites. Oregon’s state-based health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon, reported a net total of 15,326 private dental insurance enrollments after cancellations and terminations, as of July 7, 2014.[3]

Furthermore, at this time, no data is available regarding the number of Americans who enrolled in private dental insurance plans away from the state-based and federally facilitated exchanges in 2014. At the end of 2012, approximately 187 million Americans had dental insurance benefits, according to the National Association of Dental Plans, which states on its website, “About 99 percent of dental benefits are provided through an employer or other groups like AARP.”[4]

The Affordable Care Act requires the pediatric dental and vision essential health benefit be embedded in or bundled with health insurance plans unless it is available as a standalone plan on the state’s exchange. The law did not require adults or children to purchase dental benefits.

Have questions?

Read “Obamacare Dental Insurance FAQs” to learn more about dental benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

Visit to get a free individual dental insurance quote or call 888-468-3390 to talk to a dental insurance agent about the right individual dental plan for you and your family.


[1] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. “Health Insurance Marketplace: Summary Enrollment Report for the Initial Annual Open Enrollment: For the Period: October 1, 2013–March 31, 2014 (Including Additional Special Enrollment Activity Reported through 4-19-14).”  May 1, 2014. Retrieved from

[2] Yarbrough C., Vujicic M., Nasseh K. Update: Take-Up of Pediatric Dental Benefits in Health Insurance Marketplaces

Still Limited. Health Policy Institute Research Brief. American Dental Association. May 2014. Retrieved from

[3] Cover Oregon. “Update: Private Coverage and Oregon Health Plan Enrollment Through Cover Oregon.” July 7, 2014. Retrieved from

[4] National Association of Dental Plans. “Who Has Dental Benefits?” N.D. Retrieved from

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