Where medical loss ratios stand in the dental industry today

Nevada recently signed into law a medical loss ratio for dental payers, continuing a movement ignited last year when Massachusetts approved its own.

Massachusetts established the first-of-its-kind law in December, requiring dental insurers to spend at least 83 percent of premium dollars on dental services or refund the difference to patients, among other requirements. 

Several dental organizations backed the measure, including the American Dental Association, the American Association of Endodontists and the Massachusetts Dental Society.

The ADA said last year it would work to support similar measures in other states. In December, the dental agency said it expects medical loss ratio bills to be filed in about 20 states. So far, bills have been introduced in 12 states, including Rhode Island and Connecticut.

A recent ADA poll found that 83 percent of dentists supported medical loss ratios being added in their states. Forty-two percent also indicated they were likely to or were already participating in a grassroots effort to establish medical loss ratios for dental plans in their state. Meanwhile, Mouhab Rizkallah, DDS, who spearheaded the Massachusetts ballot initiative, said he plans to push for a dental-focused medical loss ratio at the federal level.

Multiple dentists told Becker's last year that the Massachusetts law could improve patient care and hold payers accountable.

"Third-party payers will be held more accountable for how they spend premium dollars on patient care," Chris Salierno, DDS, chief dental officer at Nashville, Tenn.-based Tend, told Becker's. "This will benefit patients and their providers by reducing financial obstacles to improved oral health outcomes."

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