Dental insurance needs to be reliable and predictable for patients and their dentists. Navigating the health care system can be difficult for everyone. Our patients shouldn’t have to go through the red tape to get the dental care they want in order to stay healthy.
As it is in Connecticut, insurance companies can rent dentists from different insurance networks without the dentists knowing or consenting to it. 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 advocates for network leasing laws that will increase transparency and give dentists the ability to accept or decline contracts. Thus, upholding basic equity while reducing the occurrence of unforeseen bills as a result of a proceeding.
Without network lease laws, transparency in healthcare suffers. Patients and dentists should be fully informed of the costs of care up front in any healthcare transaction. Leased networks often have the opposite effect, as they operate “silently” and the provider and patients are unable to determine contractual coverage and charges. Ultimately, this creates mistrust between patients and dentists. As a result, the lack of transparency can lead to assumptions in treatment plans and costs based on a false understanding of patient coverage.
Network leasing legislation is gaining momentum in the United States. Almost 20 states have laws that generally require insurance companies to notify healthcare providers of network rental activity. Laws vary with respect to notification requirements and the ability of providers to opt out of rental agreements. Connecticut dentists want and should be a part of these network leasing discussions. With full commitment, dentists can choose to join a network and understand and negotiate the terms of their agreements. Ultimately, this will translate into a better patient-dentist partnership when it comes to financial planning for treatments that improve oral health.
CSDA is committed to speaking on behalf of our members and the citizens of Connecticut to shed light on this trend in the 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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