Learn about the status of legislation introduced on Beacon Hill that would impact you, your dental practice, and the oral health of the Commonwealth.
Medical Loss Ratio
The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) has long wanted to reform dental insurance Medical Loss Ratios (MLRs). For dentists and patients alike, this change ensures that dental plans are more transparent and accountable to the patients they serve. Like medical patients, dental patients deserve the premium dollars they pay to insurers be spent on patient care and in support of oral health. That is why the MDS Board of Trustees has endorsed the upcoming ballot measure Massachusetts Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Insurance Plans.
Patients First Act
On January 1, 2022, Governor Baker signed the “Patients First Act” into law. This act requires health care providers, including dental providers, to tell patients how much they will pay for planned procedures in advance of the treatment– based on the patient’s specific dental insurance plan benefits. The Department of Public Health may fine providers who fail to comply with the requirements with a penalty of up to $2,500 for each non-compliance.
UPDATE: In July 2022, Massachusetts passed an amendment to the law to delay enforcement of the act until January 1, 2025. The MDS will continue to seek a legislative resolution to this issue in the 2023-2024 session. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Brian Montiero, director of government affairs and public relations.
Midlevel Dental Professionals and a Comprehensive Approach to Improving Oral Health
The term midlevel provider refers to a dental professional who is between a dentist and a dental hygienist in both academic preparation and scope of practice. After years of monitoring the issue and months of considering the impact of the policy, the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Board of Trustees has voted to oppose the creation of midlevel dental providers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The MDS works on behalf of its almost 5,300 members to create an advocacy agenda that responds to member needs and works to provide access to high-quality oral health care for all Massachusetts residents. Although mid-level dental providers are being debated in some states as a possible solution to reducing oral health disparities and increasing access to care among underserved populations, the MDS has not seen concrete evidence that these providers improve access to care.
The Board of Trustees will continue to monitor this issue and inform members of any policy updates.
Increasing Patient Choice Through Assignment of Benefits
An Act Relative to Increasing Patient Choice Through the Assignment of Benefits | H.1181
The Massachusetts Dental Society believes that all Massachusetts residents should have access to quality oral health care, and they should be able to choose the dental provider that’s best for them. To preserve patient choice, An Act Relative to Increasing Patient Choice Through Assignment of Benefits would require all insurance carriers to permit a covered person to direct in writing that reimbursable benefits for covered services be paid directly to the treating dentist of their choice.