Delta Dental proposed settlement notices mailed

Dentists who are part of a class action lawsuit against Delta Dental of California should have received by mail a notice of the proposed settlement. Preliminary approval of the proposed settlement by a San Francisco Superior Court judge on April 21 triggered a settlement administrator to issue formal notices to dentists who are part of the class. The notices were mailed on May 11.

The proposed settlement is the result of legal action CDA filed against Delta Dental regarding Participating Dentist Agreements with providers in the Delta Dental Premier® network. CDA took a stand on behalf of members to protect their rights to fair dealings after learning of Delta’s plans to reduce Premier Provider rates by 8 to 12 percent. The legal action successfully blocked Delta’s attempt to reduce reimbursement rates for 3 ½ years, which saved dentists nearly a half-billion dollars in fee reimbursements.

In addition to mailing the formal notices to dentists, the settlement administrator has set up a website, deltadentalofcaliforniasettlement.com for additional information.

Dentists who choose not to participate in the class have a June 26 deadline to opt out. Dentists should read the notice carefully, including terms of the settlement and a revised PDA for Premier Providers.

Additionally, Delta Dental has sent letters to providers notifying them of changes to its Participating Dentists Rules, which are part of the Participating Dentist Agreement. The revisions relate to participation in the Delta Dental Premier and Delta Dental PPO provider networks. Delta was obligated to provide notice of changes that are being implemented outside of the settlement, which was the reason for the additional letter from Delta. Dentists should be aware that it is not a substitute for the official legal notice about the settlement.

A final approval hearing on the proposed settlement is scheduled for Aug. 31 in San Francisco Superior Court. It is expected that all claims from the settlement amount will be completed within six months after the settlement becomes final. Any payments that remain unclaimed after 90 days will be paid to the CDA Foundation’s Student Loan Repayment Grant program.

CDA is committed to supporting members in many ways, including the pursuit of this litigation on behalf of dentists. CDA also offers sophisticated practice management and dental benefits guidance through CDA Practice Support at cda.org/practicesupport, which offers important tools to assist with managing dental practices and evaluating accepted plans.

CDA will continue to keep members informed about the proposed settlement process through the CDA Update, e-newsletter and cda.org/delta, which includes an updated FAQ.

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After a long legal battle against Delta Dental, CDA achieved a favorable outcome on behalf of dentists regarding Delta's attempt to reduce Premier Provider reimbursement rates. In a letter to members, CDA President Clelan Ehrler, DDS, MS, outlines the successful outcome and provides a summary of settlement details.