Dentistry Today reported earlier this week that 11 independent antitrust class action lawsuits are pending against various Delta Dental insurance entities, including Delta Dental of Wisconsin. The lawsuits come in the wake of Delta’s 2018 decision to reduce reimbursements to providers in Wisconsin and other states across the country.
You can read more on the Dentistry Today website, which also includes links to the legal filings.
I anticipate that many WDA members will have questions about these lawsuits, so I’ve been in touch with our general counsel, Steve Battenberg of Carlson Black O’Callaghan & Battenberg LLP, for his insight. Steve shared the following information:
- The next step in the process is to have the court certify the “class,” or those who have a legal interest in the alleged wrongdoing. Certification as a class action is not guaranteed and could take several months.
- If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, the court will determine who can be included in the class.
- Once the class is determined, eligible dentists (Delta Dental providers) would be contacted (done through direct mailings, media or the internet).
- In most cases, class membership is automatic—that is, everyone affected by the action would be automatically included in the class action unless they opt out.
- The WDA or any state dental association would not be part of the class. The decision to be included in the class would be up to the individual dentists.
Please note that the WDA is prohibited by law from encouraging or helping members join the class. This blog is being posted for informational purposes only, and any members should make the decision that is best for them.
We understand that this has been an extremely frustrating situation for those who have been subject to Delta Dental’s reimbursement cuts, and the WDA is committed to continuing to share information when it becomes available. We remind all WDA members that any discussion of prices, price levels or efforts to restrict competition are in violation of federal antitrust laws and WDA policy, and we urge caution in discussing such matters within a group.
Thank you for taking the time to review this update, and we will continue to keep you informed of legal developments related to Delta Dental of Wisconsin.