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ODC continues to support Doc Access Act

October 21, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — Prohibiting third-party payers from dictating what dentists can charge for services not covered by dental benefit plans is a priority for the Organized Dentistry Coalition in 2019, which is once again offering support for legislation calling for just that.

In an Oct. 16 letter to Reps. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Buddy Carter, R-Ga., the coalition thanked the lawmakers for leading HR 3762, the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act, also called the DOC Access Act.

“We offer our strong support for this bipartisan legislation as we believe that patients are adversely affected by provisions in dental insurance benefits plans and coverage that dictate what a doctor may charge a plan enrollee for services not covered by the plan,” the coalition wrote.

To date, 39 states have passed laws that limit interference with the doctor-patient relationship when the doctor delivers services not covered by insurers, but as the dental groups explained, “a federal effort is needed as some plans are able to sidestep state laws because they are instead regulated on the federal level.”

The coalition added that the current landscape also “adversely affects competition among plans” in a market dominated by only a few national players in many states and shifts costs to uninsured patients paying for care out of their own pockets.

“HR 3762 will provide greater access to high-quality care by helping to curb anti-patient and anti-competitive practices of dental insurance plans. This legislation is crucial to bring needed balance to contract negotiations between providers, who are often small business owners, and large dental insurance companies.

"Passage of HR 3762 would balance the scales and bring equity to insurer/provider contracting at the federal level,” the letter concluded.

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/advocacy.