The Minnesota Dental Association has been pushing for legislation to give its members greater protection from insurance plan auditing practices that some dentists say have become unfair and have negatively impacted their businesses. A new law modifies several provisions that regulate provider agreements between dental insurers and dentists.
Sponsored by Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) and Sen. Ray Vandeveer (R-Forest Lake), the legislation states any changes in terms of an existing contract between a dental organization and a dentist must be disclosed to the dentist at least 90 days before the effective date of the proposed change.
The law also requires an organization conducting an audit of a dental provider to:
• provide a written explanation of the reason for the audit and the process the dental organization intends to use to audit patient charts, as well as a written explanation of the processes available to the provider once the dental organization completes its review of the audited patient records;
• allow the provider a reasonable period of time from the date that the provider receives the verified audit or investigation findings to review, meet and negotiate a resolution to the audit or investigation; and
• use a licensed dentist whose license is in good standing to review patient charts.
The MDA has lobbied for changes in the new law that state dental insurance providers are no longer allowed to set a fee for a particular type of service unless it is covered in a plan they provide to enrollees. Association members said that when dental insurance providers previously placed caps on fees for non-covered services, dental businesses were then forced to shift costs to other services they provide for patients. The new law no longer allows dental insurance providers to place capped fees on dental procedures they do not cover in their plans.
The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2011.
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