The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA) would allow families affected by congenital abnormalities and defects to receive health insurance coverage.

The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), which requires private health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of congenital anomalies and birth defects, is scheduled for a floor vote in the House of Representatives on April 4.

ELSA would help patients and their families affected by congenital abnormalities and birth defects, like cleft lips or palates, receive insurance benefits to fort treatment, including medically necessary orthodontic treatment.

States have statutes that mandate medical benefits to people born with congenital anomalies and resultant missing/defective body parts. Yet, insurance companies auto-deny claims for medical treatment when the missing body part is teeth, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.

ELSA closes a coverage gap to ensure that health plans cover medically necessary services related to a patient’s anomaly or birth defect, including any serious dental and oral-related procedures necessary to maintain health and overall function.

The bill has broad bipartisan support and currently has 304 co-sponsors. If ELSA passes in the House of Representatives, it will move to the Senate, where it currently has 49 Co-Sponsors.

The AAO has joined a broad coalition of national healthcare professionals and patient advocacy organizations to support this legislation and has been a member-requested priority for the AAO for the past few years.

The organization is asking its members to join in advocating for the bill by sending a message of support to your local Congressional representatives.

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