According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nearly 50 percent of children have tooth decay before age five.
After aggressive lobbying by the Maine Dental Association (MDA), the Maine legislature passed a bill that prohibits insurance companies from setting restrictions on the age children can be enrolled in their parents' dental plans. According to the MDA, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state was not offering coverage for children under the age of four.
Despite the age restrictions for children to be enrolled in that dental insurance plan, the American Dental Association recommends a child visit the dentist by his or her first birthday.
"With the passage of this bill, the playing field in the dental benefits world is now leveled and all dental benefit plans must make dependent coverage available to children from birth and are forbidden to place arbitrary age limits on initial entry into a dental plan," Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, president of the Maine Dental Association, said. "We are aware that similar practices with dental benefits are occurring in other New England states, and we hope that our legislation in Maine paves the way for other states to end this practice of setting age restrictions for enrollment into dental benefit plans."