A poll question initiated by an orthodontist in Somerville found that the estimated 25% of Massachusetts residents who do not have dental insurance would have better dental health or would have higher insurance premiums and that employers would or urge them to withdraw their compensation.
Question 2 of the November 8 ballot called for “requiring companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on member dental costs and quality improvement instead of administrative costs, and making other changes to dental insurance regulations.” In addition, it regulates dental insurance rates.” In addition, insurers must disclose where these premiums are spent.
1 in 4 insured people do not have dental insurance
State law requires Massachusetts residents to have health insurance.of Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey It turns out that the uninsured rate in 2021 is 2.4%, which is higher than the national rate of 9.2%. Health insurers must allocate 88% of premiums to coverage. The measures proposed to amend dental insurance were designed as an effort to mirror patient health insurance across the Commonwealth.
In contrast, a 2017 study estimated that one in four state residents with health insurance had no insurance for dental health. in Massachusetts, 16.6% of the total population reported an unmet need for dental care due to costs in 2019.
“Dental insurance is cheaper on a monthly basis, but the number and types of claims that occur in a typical year do not require staff work like healthcare. Showmat Strategy Groupwhich is working to support question 2.
“Health care is obviously much more complicated when it comes to actually trying to find a problem and different treatments. It’s pricing.”
Supporter’s opinion on question 2
Proponents say that if question 2 is passed, both insurance premiums and denial of service will decrease while covering more of a patient’s annual costs. Patients can also find out how their premiums are being spent. This information is not currently available to patients who pay large amounts for dental insurance.
Under question 2, fewer patients are placed in an ‘urgent’ state to provide dental care. This is the case with Congressman John Santiago (D-Boston), a regular doctor in the Boston Medical Center’s emergency room.
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“People with mouth abscesses get infected if they wait too long. If they had gone to the dentist it might have been fixed but now they have to go to the ER for medication and services.” “We’re getting to the point where we can’t,” he said.
This situation is more common because the patient’s health insurance covers the costs when it comes to “emergency” conditions.
“It’s very simple. It’s important for people who pay for dental insurance to make sure that their money is spent on dental care, and that that money goes to as little overhead as possible.” Rep. Stephen Owens, D-Watertown, said in a telephone interview.
Question 2 is endorsed by the Massachusetts Dental Society and 13 Massachusetts legislators.
Opposition to Question 2
Dental insurance companies object to this question.
Opponents warn that premiums could rise as much as 38% and thousands of Massachusetts residents could lose their dental insurance as a result. The study that predicted this price increase It was commissioned and funded by a trade association of dental insurance companies.
“Some carriers will likely exit the market and some will likely offer less in terms of perks,” said a former state legislator with a “No on 2” campaign. spokesman Jim Welch said. told WBUR“As telcos leave the market and profits decline, access declines, quality declines, and, unfortunately, costs ultimately rise.”
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Welch said the bill, if passed, would unfairly hurt those who can’t afford it.
Kyle Sullivan, spokesperson for the Commission to Protect Access to Quality Dental Care, expressed similar concerns.
“Question 2 increases costs for Massachusetts families and employers, potentially depriving thousands of residents of much-needed dental care as consumer prices soar to all-time highs. The federal government does not need this additional regulation, which will only increase costs and reduce patient options statewide,” Sullivan said in a statement on behalf of the commission.
Dental insurance is a voluntary benefit, and far fewer residents have it than mandated medical insurance. However, dental insurance has fixed administrative costs similar to medical insurance.
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“Dental insurers have fewer dollars and fewer policyholders to cover administrative costs, so these costs make up a larger portion of dental premiums than medical premiums,” Sullivan said. I’m here.
Delta Dental, the state’s largest insurance company, has donated over $4 million to efforts against Question 2. Massachusetts Office of Election Campaigns and Political Finance By October 1, WBUR reported.
Massachusetts Dental Society Donate over $200,000 to the “Yes on 2” campaign, American Dental Association had pledged $5 million. Mouhab Rizkallah, an orthodontist from Somerville, is the largest individual donor, giving over $2 million. Dozens of donations have come from individual dentists, most of which are just under a few hundred dollars.
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