Non-Covered Services legislation now ready for governor’s signature; Benefits patients and small-business dental practices

Wednesday, May 8, 2013- Wisconsin Dental Association President Dr. Timothy Durtsche of La Crosse today released the following statement regarding the Wisconsin Senate’s passage of SB 131/AB109. The bill, which would prevent dental insurance companies from setting fees for services they don’t cover, now goes to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

“On behalf of the 3,000-plus members of the Wisconsin Dental Association, we applaud the large, bipartisan group of legislators, including 90 co-sponsors, who have supported non-covered services legislation in the Senate and the Assembly. SB 131/AB 109 provides for greater transparency in the cost of oral health care, benefiting both patients and small-business dental practices.

“This legislation is good public policy because consumers benefit from a transparent and consumer-driven dental care delivery system. Treatment decisions should be made between dentist and patient, with the patient’s health – not the insurance company’s fee schedule – in mind. It will also allow dentistry to continue to avoid the practice of cost-shifting – passing the costs of non-covered services on to the 45 percent of patients who pay out-of-pocket for dental care. With this legislation in place, those receiving dental care services will still be the ones paying for those services.

“Most dental practices are small businesses that operate with one to three dentists. This bill will help level the uneven playing field created by government anti-trust laws that prohibit practices from joining together to create the amount of leverage necessary to actually negotiate meaningful changes to unfair provisions in their insurance contracts.

“This legislation is pro-consumer and pro-business. Similar laws have already passed overwhelmingly in 30 states. We hope that Gov. Walker will add his signature to the bill and that Wisconsin will be the 31st state.”