Thank you to the Council on Government Affairs and the LDA lobbying team for the hard work and determination while filing two pieces of legislation this session. Members from all over the state called their legislators and responded to our call-to-action alerts. The ADA also supported our efforts as part of the State Public Affairs program.
The 2021 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature adjourned sine die on Thursday, June 10, with one of the final acts being approval of a $37 billion state operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The session was chock full of wins for dentistry and the LDA. Both LDA sponsored bills have already been signed by the Governor prior to the close of session. Here is the breakdown:
HB 387 (now Act 26) by Rep. Kyle Green – This is the LDA’s bill requiring transparency in network leasing. The National Coalition of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) adopted model legislation regarding network leasing. Network leasing by dental insurers has become a challenge in a number of states, including Louisiana. The LDA filed a bill that modeled NCOIL’s suggestions. The model act is all about transparency for the dentists who often inadvertently sign into contracts with leasing companies and/or dental plans without understanding they have agreed to a leasing arrangement that opens up their office to both existing and new patients at a fee level that is below their usual and customary fees. The LDA introduced this model legislation to bring transparency to network leasing and to provide consumer protection.
SB 82 (now Act 89) by Sen. Stewart Cathey – This is the LDA’s bill adding the review of dental insurance plans under the Health Insurance Issuer External Review Act. Louisiana passed the Health Insurance Issuer External Review Act in 2013, allowing individuals to file claims and appeals for an independent review related to their medical insurance in the event they disagree with the coverage decision. This act shall apply to external review or adverse determinations involving individual claims in excess of $250.
Many states who have this external review process also include dental insurance claims as eligible for this review process, but not Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana Medicaid coverage already allows for independent reviews on dental AND medical claims (Ambien). However, private insurance does not include dentists.
Our advocacy efforts worked; this is organized dentistry at its finest - promoting, advocating and protecting the dental profession!