Dental insurance should be reliable and predictable for patients and their dentists. Navigating the healthcare system can be challenging for anyone. Our patients should not have to overcome red tape to pursue the dental care they seek to stay healthy.
As things stand today in Connecticut, insurance companies can lease dentists to different insurance networks without the dentists’ knowledge nor consent. This significantly impacts insurance benefits available to patients and affects the patient-dentist trust. The Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) wants to change this.
The CSDA is advocating for network leasing laws that will expand transparency and provide an opportunity for dentists to accept or refuse contracts. Thus, enforcing basic fairness while reducing the occurrence of unexpected bills following a procedure.
Without network leasing laws, healthcare transparency suffers. Patients and dentists should be fully informed about the costs of care upfront in any healthcare transaction. Leased networks often have the opposite effect, because they operate “silently,” and the provider and patients are unable to determine coverage and contracted fees. In the end, this creates a distrust between patients and dentists. As a result, lack of transparency can lead to assumptions in treatment plans and costs based on false understanding of patient coverage.
Network leasing legislation is gaining momentum across the United States. There are nearly 20 states that have laws that generally require insurance companies to inform health care providers of networking leasing activity. The laws vary with respect to notification requirements and ability of providers to opt-out of leasing arrangements. Connecticut dentists want and need to be a part of these network leasing discussions. By being fully engaged, dentists can choose to join a network, and understand and negotiate the terms of their agreements. In the end, this will result in a better patient-dentist partnership as it relates to financial planning around treatments that result in better oral health.
CSDA is committed to speaking on our members and Connecticut citizens’ behalf to shed light on this insurance practice trend.
Dr. Tam Le, DMD, is President of the Connecticut State Dental Association, which is included among the advertising sponsors on this website.
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