Recently 12 states enacted a non-covered services bills to block the unsavory practice of insurance companies setting the maximum rates for dentistry procedures not covered by dental insurance. Until the laws went into effect, dentists were legally required to provide services to an individual covered under the plan, but could not determine their own fees for the procedures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released findings indicating that percent of Americans that buy their own health insurance opt not to select dental coverage. Those with dental coverage may not be pleased with their policy as insurance providers tend to limit the types of services and treatment they will cover to better manage their bottom lines. Control the rates dentists can charge is just part of the equation. However, this practice may prevent patients from getting the appropriate dental care they may need as dentist are unnecessarily being controlled by insurance companies budgetary restraints.
In addition to Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Oregon, Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, Alaska and Arizona have all passed legislation. According to the American Dental Association website “The states were among 29 that filed bills during the 2010 session to prohibit insurance companies from controlling what a dentist may charge for services the insurers don’t cover.”
The American Dental Association is very pleased with the results and hope that all states will adopt the new policies. The impact on consumers is yet to be determined, but based on past evidence, chances are that dental insurance providers and dentists are going to figure out a way to pass the additional costs of the non-covered cap onto consumers.