August 16, 2011
Dentists in Washington recently experienced a reimbursement rate cut from one of their largest dental insurance carriers. This situation is a reminder to all dentists of the importance of reading insurance contracts upon initial signing, and actively participating in the governance of insurance companies, whether by attending board meetings, electing board members, voting, etc.
In mid-June, Washington Dental Service (a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association) implemented cuts to provider fees from the Premier and PPO programs. The cuts are reported to be more substantial on frequently used procedures and average about 15% across all billing codes. In addition to these cuts, it has been reported that Washington Dental Service significantly reduced payments to out-of-network providers. In Washington, provider participation rate in this insurance network is extremely high and the network covers the majority of dental patients in the state.