Delta Dental of Massachusetts, the state’s largest dental insurer, recently proposed a new low-cost plan that could cut reimbursement rates by as much as 20-30%. Many dentists in the Bay State are worried that the introduction of this plan will result in lower-quality care.
Delta Dental of Massachusetts sought approval from the state Division of Insurance to begin selling its new low-cost plan to employers this summer. Delta claims that it must offer the plan to remain competitive and attract budget-conscious businesses and patients.
But many dentists worry that the lower reimbursement rates will force them to increase the number of appointments required to earn the same amount as before, thereby reducing the amount of time spent with each patient. An article in the Boston Globe outlined the dilemma as the dentists see it: accept the new contract from Delta and risk losing patients who aren’t satisfied with lower-quality care; or decline to participate and lose out on Delta members, of which there are nearly 2.2 million in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts dentists and the state dental society are lobbying state legislators, insurance regulators, and the state attorney general to prevent the change. They’ve also asked the Division of Insurance to hold a hearing on Delta’s plans before approving them. The Division hasn’t yet granted one.
Stay tuned here for more on whether Delta Dental’s low-cost plan goes forward.