Chairman Buoniconti, Chairman Koutoujian, and members of the Committee, I would like to offer testimony in support of H. 939, An Act Relative to Anesthesia Coverage for Children Hospitalized for Dental Treatment.
I am sponsoring this legislation to address a serious health concern in the Commonwealth. Dental disease is the most common chronic illness to afflict children and adolescents in the U.S, however, this problem can be easily prevented with access to appropriate dental care.
Circumstances such as age, dental needs, disabilities, medical conditions and other factors sometimes require that children be sedated in order to receive necessary oral health treatment. These patients may be denied access to oral health care because insurance companies often refuse to pay for anesthesia by citing the procedure as not medically necessary. This bill will remedy this situation.
In an effort to ensure that all children have access to the full range of available oral health care, I believe that insurance companies should recognize the fact that anesthesia is sometimes necessary to deliver quality dental care to some children. Insurance companies must stop discriminating between the “medical” and “dental” nature of procedures, and cease arbitrarily and unfairly refusing reimbursement for anesthesia when it is administered for the delivery of oral health care. In conclusion, anesthesia should be included as a benefit of health insurance plans.
Thirty other states have passed similar legislation and I believe the Commonwealth should follow suit in order to improve the health of our children.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I strongly encourage the Committee to adopt a favorable report for H. 939 as expeditiously as possible.