“Yes” to Question 2: Massachusetts passes dental insurance regulation


politics

Massachusetts was the first state in the United States to mandate consumer dental protection.

People fill out ballots at Cathedral High School in Boston, Massachusetts, November 8, 2022. Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Voters in Massachusetts passed ballot question 2, making the state the first in the nation to introduce a uniform rule on “medical loss rates” for dental insurance.

The Associated Press called for the race early Wednesday morning and received a “yes” with 71.3% of the votes.

Massachusetts’ question 2 campaign “yes” declared victory around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night.

“Together, we put patients before profit. , and to all the individuals and organizations federally and nationally who have provided assistance in helping to pass this bill,” said DMD Meredith Bailey, president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. increase. statement.

This bill creates new dental insurance regulations. Specifically, there is a requirement that insurance companies spend at least 83% (83 cents on a dollar) of premiums on patient costs. The remaining 17 cents on the dollar can be used for administrative expenses. Insurance companies that do not meet the percentage must issue rebates to their patients.

Similar loss ratios are already used in health insurance.Nationally, insurance companies Mandatory under the Affordable Care Act Spend at least 80% or 85% of your premium on medical care.In Massachusetts, medical insurance companies Must use either 85% or 88% of premium dollars for care.

The measure requires dental insurers to annually send information to the state regarding “current and projected medical loss rates, administrative costs, and other financial information.”

Proponents of the question argued that insured persons could pay less for dental care and receive more protection. Somerville dentist Muhab Rizkala, who originated the poll question, said: told Boston.com That question 2 “redirects the vast waste and misappropriation of patient premium funds to patients.” This action was endorsed by both the Massachusetts Dental Association and the American Dental Association.

Counter-arguments to this question largely revolved around concerns about rising dental costs and the potential loss of dental care for some residents. But experts like Evan Horowitz, executive director of Tufts University’s Center for National Policy Analysis, told Boston.com The measures should not cause significant changes in the patient.

“This is not the kind of poll question that will transform dentistry as we know it,” said Horowitz, who conducted an analysis of the poll questions last month. “Dental insurance companies will not be forced out of state, premium prices will not change dramatically, and treatment will not become more affordable. No, but it might not be that big of a deal.

The measures contained in Question 2 are expected to come into force in 2024. Until then, there is no minimum premium standard that dental insurers must direct towards patient care.

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