Governor signs CDA-sponsored dental plan disclosure bill

CDA scored a significant victory in the dental benefits arena recently when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will place new disclosure requirements on dental plans and insurers when they make material changes to their contracts, rules and procedures. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Specifically, AB 2252 (Gordon), sponsored by CDA, requires plans to provide written notice to providers within 45 business days of any material changes to a plan’s rules, guidelines, policies and procedures concerning dental provider contracting or coverage of or payment for dental services. 

In addition, the new law will require plans that automatically renew their provider contracts to provide annually, upon request within 60 business days, a copy of its current contract and a written summary of all material changes since the issuance or last renewal of the contract. 

“We are delighted that the governor has signed AB 2252 into law,” said CDA Immediate Past President President Daniel Davidson, DMD. “CDA asked Assemblymember Richard Gordon to carry this bill in response to complaints we had received from numerous dentists about plans making unilateral contract and policy changes without any notification or rationale. The new law will make sure that plans provide timely notice to their network dentists whenever they change or freeze rates, limit coverage of certain services, or otherwise change the rules in midstream.” 

AB 2252 went through the entire legislative process without receiving a single dissenting vote. 

“Legislators understood the fundamental unfairness of contract changes being made without notifying the impacted providers,” said Davidson. “In addition, we were able to work with the dental plan industry on clarifying amendments that eventually removed all organized opposition to the bill.” 

While CDA is very pleased with the enactment of AB 2252, the association is aware that dentists continue to have numerous concerns about dental plans and the dental benefit marketplace in general. Because of this, CDA has appointed a Dental Benefits Task Force that is putting the entire dental benefit market under a proverbial microscope, identifying and researching trends while looking for ways that dentists can more effectively work within a rapidly changing environment.

The results of the task force’s comprehensive research efforts are expected to be reported by the end of next year. In the meantime, CDA is keeping members informed about the work of the task force through regular articles in the Update and online.

Read more about the advocacy efforts of CDA.