SmileDirectClub sues Delta Dental for denying teledentistry coverage

SmileDirectClub filed lawsuits June 30 against three Delta Dental entities for denying their customers teledentistry benefits.

The lawsuits were filed against Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Delta Dental of California. The teledentistry company alleges that the insurance providers denied patients teledentistry coverage by refusing to cover clear aligner therapy prescribed by SmileDirectClub-affiliated dentists.

"While other major insurers and legislatures are taking steps to give consumers choice and access to telehealth — more important today than ever before — Delta Dental continues to deny claims from consumers who have paid for insurance coverage," SmileDirectClub's chief legal officer, Susan Greenspon Rammelt, said in the news release. "Their actions are entirely contradictory to the growing need and demand for telehealth, especially amid a global pandemic where millions have relied upon remote, digital care."

Delta Dental is the only major U.S. insurance provider that does not provide this coverage, as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Empire BlueCross and BlueShield all offer benefits for SmileDirectClub's clear aligner therapy, according to the company's news release.

"We continuously examine new technologies that can improve the oral health of Americans while expanding access to care,” Wells Hutchison, general counsel for the Delta Dental Plans Association said in a statement provided to Becker's. "We will vigorously defend against the groundless claims alleged by SmileDirectClub and will also continue to evaluate SmileDirectClub’s model and practices in light of standards of care promulgated by leading dental and orthodontic specialty organizations."

More articles on dental:
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'We were not first in line at all': Vermont dentists call congressman about lack of PPE

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