Employers with dental or vision benefits have gritted teeth and winced about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s impact on such coverage, but a recent Segal Co. analysis seeks to clear up any confusion about compliance.

Self-insured dental and vision plans that are not separately elected and paid for must comply with the new law, according to the consulting firm’s December 2010 Health Care Reform Insights. However, an exemption is granted to insured or self-insured plans that are subject to a participant election and participant contribution.

While plan sponsors decide whether or not the cost of compliance is still a worthy investment, they may be somewhat disheartened to learn that the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) recently noted the first drop in dental enrollment since the group began tracking such numbers in 1994. The 5.7% decline in 2009 was one of several highlights from the 2010 Dental Benefits Enrollment Report, which is issued by NADP and Delta Dental Plans Association.

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