CEO of DDOK talks to 7News about proposed bill regarding dental insurance companies’ policies

Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 8:45 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2022 at 8:50 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma is opposing a proposed bill that he said would allow dentists to charge insured patients more.

We first told you about House Bill 3023 authored by Lawton Rep. Rande Worthen yesterday.

Worthen told 7NEWS the bill would prevent dental insurance companies from setting the price for services not covered by the company.

But John Gladden said this isn’t a true statement.

He said a law changed this years ago and insurance companies cannot legally dictate a fee for non-covered services.

“From that point forward, if it was not covered by the dental insurance plan, not reimbursable ever, the dentist can charge whatever they want, but if it is ever reimbursable by the dental plan, the dentist has to stick to his negotiated fee and that helps people save money,” Gladden said.

About one million Oklahomans have Delta Dental.

Dr. Todd Bridges told 7News the companies “down code” procedures sometimes, but Gladden said this is exactly where patients would see an increase in costs if the bill becomes law.

He said the best example is that sometimes dentists code what should be a simple extraction as a surgical extraction and the insurance company down codes it to protect the patient.

“In that case, we would down code that claim to a simple extraction and then as the patient you would only be held responsible for your co-payment for a simple extraction,” Gladden said. “The dentist could not charge you the difference between a surgical and simple extraction.”

He said the best way for dentists to protest the policies is by not participating with insurance carriers they don’t agree with and urges voters to contact their legislators to learn more about the bill.

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