FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/11/2011
REP. LOZANO PASSES H.B. 1776 TO ENGROSSMENT
Measure Would Prevent Insurers and HMOs From Dictating Fees For Non-Covered Dental Services
Austin, TX— Today, Representative JM Lozano (Kingsville) passed H.B. 1776 to engrossment in the Texas House of Representatives. HB 1776 prevents insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) from setting fees on dental procedures they do not cover or provide reimbursement for.
"If insurers or employers want to offer these discounts on non-covered services, they should do so within the plan's benefits as covered services." Rep. Lozano said. "This practice is not only unfair to dentists, but also to patients, since it means dentists will have to shift costs onto their other patients, many of whom do not have dental insurance."
Certain dental insurance companies are implementing contract provisions that dictate how much dentists may charge their patients even when the insurance company refuses to cover or pay for the dental procedure.
Currently, dentists have no negotiating power with insurance companies and because of antitrust agreements, such as the Sherman Anti-trust Act, dentists are not allowed to group together as individuals or as an association to negotiate fair-treatment and fair contracts.
"A majority of dentists in Texas are essentially small business owners. A third-party insurance group dictating fees for services they do not cover or provide any reimbursement for, hinders free-market competition between the small business owners," Rep. Lozano said.
H.B. 1776 received wide support by the Texas Dental Association which represents over 8,500 dentists in Texas, the American Dental Association which represents 150,000 dentists in the United States, the Texas Academy of General Dentistry, the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Texas Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.