Dental insurance must be reliable and predictable for patients and their dentists. Navigating the healthcare system can be difficult for everyone. Our patients shouldn’t have to jump through the paperwork to pursue the dental care they seek to stay healthy.
As things stand in Connecticut, insurance companies can hire dentists from different insurance networks without the dentists’ knowledge or consent. This has a significant impact on the insurance benefits available to patients and affects patient-dentist confidence. Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) want to change that. (Note, the original invoice number was HB 5353, but the language has been moved to HB 6589.)
The CSDA is advocating for network leasing laws that will increase transparency and give dentists the ability to accept or decline contracts. Thus, enforcing basic fairness while reducing the occurrence of unexpected bills following a procedure.
Without network tenancy laws, healthcare transparency suffers. Patients and dentists should be fully informed of the costs of care upfront in any healthcare transaction. Leased networks often have the opposite effect, as they operate “silently,” and the provider and patients are unable to determine contract coverage and fees. Ultimately, this creates mistrust between patients and dentists. Therefore, the lack of transparency can lead to assumptions in treatment plans and costs based on a false understanding of patient coverage.
Network rental legislation is gaining momentum in the United States. There are nearly 20 states that have laws that generally require insurance companies to notify health care providers of network rental activity. Laws vary regarding notification requirements and the ability of providers to opt out of rental agreements. Connecticut dentists want and need to be part of these discussions about network leasing. By being fully engaged, dentists can choose to join a network and understand and negotiate the terms of their agreements. Ultimately, this will result in a better patient-dentist partnership when it comes to financial planning around treatments that result in better oral health.
CSDA is committed to speaking on behalf of our members and the citizens of Connecticut to shed light on this trend in insurance practice.
Dr. Tam Le, DMD, is president of the Connecticut State Dental Association, which is one of the advertising sponsors of this website.
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