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Peterson and Young introduce bipartisan legislation to ensure coverage for patients born with congenital anomalies and birth defects


August 29, 2018

WASHINGTON - Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and David Young (R-IA-3) have introduced the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act, to address coverage denials for patients with congenital anomalies and birth defects. This bipartisan legislation will help these individuals afford costly reconstructive treatments for a range of conditions including cleft lip or palate, skeletal deformities, and dental defects.

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act will require all group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services, including dental procedures, to treat the symptoms of congenital anomalies. Although many states require insurers to provide this type of coverage, many health plans routinely and systematically deny claims under the pretense that they are cosmetic in nature.

“There is nothing cosmetic about treatments which are necessary to perform normal bodily functions,” said Peterson. “Insurers should do what they can to help beneficiaries, particularly in cases where the healthy development of a child is at stake.”

“Iowa parents expect and deserve proper health care and treatment for their children, and that means insurers must cover reconstructive surgeries necessary for children to live healthier lives,” said Young. “The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act will help children grow to be healthier, more active, and have a better quality of life.”

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act is supported by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED). Senators Baldwin (D-WI) and Ernst (R-IA) have introduced the same legislation in the Senate.


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