Massachusetts Dental Care Providers for Better Dental Benefits Launches “Yes on 2” Website
SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass - September 13, 2022 – As Massachusetts dentists, health care providers, and consumer advocates continue to rally behind the state’s dental insurance reform ballot measure, the Massachusetts Dental Care Providers for Better Dental Benefits ballot measure committee has launched a website, VoteYESon2ForDental.com. This website will serve as a resource explaining how Massachusetts residents would benefit from the passing the reform by Question 2 on the November ballot. The committee was formed by the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) and American Dental Association (ADA) in an effort to support the passage this initiative put before voters.
“We encourage voters across Massachusetts to vote YES on Question 2 to improve access to quality dental care and better dental benefits. This ballot initiative would make dental insurers more transparent and accountable to the patients they serve,” said Dr. Andrew Tonelli, committee spokesperson and Co-Chair of the MDS’ Government Affairs Committee and former Chair of the Boston District Dental Society. “Patient premium dollars should be spent in support of patient care, and dental patients deserve to know how much of their dental insurance premiums go toward their actual care versus profits and administrative costs for insurers.”
Question 2 would:
- Require that dental insurance companies spend at least 83% of premium dollars on patient dental care and quality improvements, instead of administrative expenses and overhead such as executive salaries;
- Require that dental insurance companies that do not meet the 83% requirement refund the difference to their covered individuals or groups;
- Require dental insurance plans be more transparent with patients by disclosing administrative costs and other financial information annually to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance in order to demonstrate how premium dollars are being spent, including how much is being spent on patient care;
- Allow the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to approve or disapprove of any proposed rates for dental insurance plans.
Currently, Massachusetts has established a medical loss ratio (MLR) for medical insurance plans that requires medical insurance plans to spend at least 88% of health insurance premiums on patient care rather than administrative expenses. However, there is currently no medical loss ratio for dental insurers and it is past time that they meet a minimum standard of putting patient premium dollars towards patient oral health services. Passing Question 2 would establish a medical loss ratio for Massachusetts dental plans by requiring that at least 83% of premiums be spent on patient care.
“We see approval of the ballot measure as a watershed moment in how dental insurance is provided for patients. Dental plans should serve patients first and foremost, and the companies that offer them should welcome transparency and accountability, rather than hide from it,” said Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., President of the American Dental Association.
Several other states have already enacted laws requiring dental insurers to file annual financial reports to disclose what percentage of premium dollars are spent on patient care. The California Dental Association found that the state’s dental plans only dedicate an average of 76% of premiums toward care, significantly below medical plan requirements. This leaves dental patients picking up the tab to cover the higher out of pocket costs and non-covered dental care expenses while dental insurance providers pocket the rest of their premium dollars.
For years, the MDS has worked to reform regulations for dental insurance plans by working through the legislature. While the organization continues to work with legislators and dental insurance providers to find common ground on advancing oral health here in the Commonwealth, the MDS is also realistic that November’s ballot measure will achieve necessary change and bolster the prospects for advancing similar, patient-centered reforms across the country. Like medical patients, dental patients deserve to have their premium dollars spent on patient care.
Visit the website here: https://voteyeson2fordental.com/
About the Massachusetts Dental Society
The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) is a professional association representing 5,000-plus member dentists and a statewide constituent of the American Dental Association. It is dedicated to the professional development of its members through initiatives in education, advocacy, and the advancement of top-quality professional standards. The MDS is also a champion for oral health care across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.massdental.org.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), published monthly, is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care, and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org.