Tricare provision included in defense reauthorization bill

Oct. 3, 2006
Bill mentions coverage of anesthesia for children's dental care.

CHICAGO--The Academy of General Dentistry has applauded the inclusion of language in the 2007 fiscal year defense spending bill to improve TRICARE policy by authorizing coverage for anesthesia and other costs related to dental care for children and disabled patients.

TRICARE is the name of the Department of Defense's managed health care program for active duty military, active duty service families, retirees and their families, and other beneficiaries.

"These important improvements would allow military families the freedom to not have to worry about additional costs for their children's dental care," said Christie Tarantino, CAE, AGD's Executive Director.

"This language will ease the burden on military parents by ensuring their children receive the care they need as well as relieve the financial burden of increased medical costs. Americans serving in our military deserve this benefit," added Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD, AGD president.

Currently, TRICARE does not pay for either the delivery of anesthesia or facility charges when a dental procedure is performed--even when it is required due to a patient's underlying medical condition. That means if a young child or disabled dependent has a serious dental condition, the general anesthesia costs get passed to the family.

Originally introduced as a stand alone piece of legislation (HR 5050) earlier this year by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-9-GA), the entire bill was added as an amendment by Norwood to the Defense Reauthorization bill that funds the Department of Defense in fiscal year 2007.

The final FY07 Defense Reauthorization conference report was passed by both congressional chambers over the weekend. "We owe a lot to Rep. Norwood in achieving enactment of this important language." asserted Janet Kopenhaver, AGD's Washington Lobbyist. "Dr. Norwood has done so much in the Congress to provide better and more essential oral health care services to all Americans, and we certainly appreciate his tireless advocacy on behalf of the dentistry profession."

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