On election day, Massachusetts voters approved state ballot Question 2, reforming dental benefits and bringing with it patient protections.

The American Dental Association celebrated Massachusetts voters’ approval of ballot Question 2, bringing dental insurance reform to the state.

Question 2 will assure patient dollars are spent on patient care, protect consumers from large increases in dental insurance premiums, and provide increased transparency of and accountability for dental insurer spending.

“With the overwhelming support of the voters, Massachusetts dentists, health professionals, and their patients have sent a powerful message across the country,” said George Shepley, DDS, president of the ADA. “By working together and engaging with our patients and our communities, dentists can help achieve significant reforms in dental insurance so that our patients are protected and are assured greater value from their dental insurance plans.”

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) and ADA endorsed a “yes” vote on Question 2 and led the campaign for its passage through the Massachusetts Dental Care Providers for Better Dental Benefits Committee.

“Together, we put patients first over profits. We thank the voters of Massachusetts and our over 5,000 member dentists of the MDS who worked hard to inform and engage their communities, as well as all of the individuals and organizations in the commonwealth and across the country who provided support to assist with this measure’s passage,” said Meredith Bailey, DMD, president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. “Dental patients deserve the same consumer protections as medical patients, and we are hopeful that the better dental benefits that the people of Massachusetts will soon experience will spread to patients across the country.”

Question 2 will:

  • Require that dental insurance companies spend at least 83 percent of premium dollars on patient dental care and quality improvements, instead of administrative expenses and overhead such as executive salaries;
  • Require that dental insurance companies that do not meet the 83 percent requirement refund the difference to their covered individuals or groups;
  • Require dental insurance plans be more transparent with patients by disclosing administrative costs and other financial information annually to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance in order to demonstrate how premium dollars are being spent, including how much is being spent on patient care;
  • Allow the commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to approve or disapprove of any proposed rates for dental insurance plans.

“This is a landmark victory for Massachusetts dental patients, who will get more value from what they are already paying for dental care and be protected from large increases in premiums thanks to the passage of Question 2,” said Andrew Tonelli, DMD, committee spokesperson and co-chair of the MDS’ Government Affairs Committee. “It is also a milestone for dental insurance reform at the national level. By making dental insurers more transparent and accountable to the dental patients they serve, people will be better able to judge the value of insurance products relative to treatment provided and health outcomes they support.”

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