Pennsylvania Dental Journal March April 2018 - Page 9

G ove r n men t Re lat ions PDA Achieves Victory in Fight for Assignment of Benefits Senate vote on SB 373: On January 23, the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 373 by a vote of 35-15. Alloway, Richard(R); Argall, David(R); Aument, Ryan(R); Bartolotta, Camera(R); Blake, John(D); Boscola, Lisa(D); Brooks, Michele(R); Browne, Patrick(R); Corman, Jake(R); DiSanto, John (F)(R); Dinniman, Andrew(D); Eichelberger, John(R); Folmer, Mike(R); Gordner, John(R); Greenleaf, Stewart(R); Hutchinson, Scott(R); Langerholc, Wayne (F)(R); Laughlin, Daniel (F)(R); Leach, Daylin(D); Martin, Scott (F)(R); McIlhinney, Charles(R); Mensch, Bob(R); Rafferty, John(R); Regan, Mike (F)(R); Reschenthaler, Guy(R); Scarnati, Joseph(R); Scavello, Mario(R); Stefano, Patrick(R); Tomlinson, Robert(R); Vogel, Jr., Elder(R); Vulakovich, Randy(R); Wagner, Scott(R); Ward, Kim(R); White, Donald(R); Yaw, Gene(R) SB 373, PDA’s legislation requiring insurers to assign benefits, on patient’s request, to non-participating dentists, now moves to the House of Representatives’ Insurance Committee for consideration. Assignment of benefits legislation is PDA’s top priority this legislative session. PDA’s lobbyist, staff and volunteer leaders drafted the legislation, found sponsors to introduce bills in both the House of Representatives and Senate, and spearheaded negotiations in both chambers to garner enough support for legislative leaders to begin moving the bill through the Senate Consumer and Protection and Appropriations Committees to the full Senate. It is a monumental feat moving an insurance bill , one ardently opposed by the insurance lobby, through the legislature. PDA’s strength in advocacy proves that your dues dollars are hard at work. We need a united front to counter the insurance lobbyists hard at work opposing this bill. Your participation in this process is essential to moving SB 373 through the House of Representatives, and on to Governor Wolf for his signature. Stay tuned for PDA’s action alerts requesting that you contact your state representative about assignment of benefits and the need to support SB 373. It will only take a few minutes of your time – we provide talking points and a sample letter. Many representatives and their staff will literally track the number of phone calls, emails and letters they receive before deciding which way to vote. Which way will they vote if they only hear from the insurance lobby? Please contact your representative today! PDA thanks the hundreds of you who have responded to our action alerts. This victory illustrates how the collective voice of organized dentistry can make a positive difference for your profession and patients. Look to see if your senator voted in favor of SB373. Please take a few minutes to thank him or her personally. A thank you from constituents goes a long way to establishing relationships that help dentistry achieve legislative victories. AYES – 35 NAYS – 15 Baker, Lisa(R); Brewster, Jim(D); Costa, Jay(D); Farnese, Lawrence(D); Fontana, Wayne(D); Haywood, Arthur(D); Hughes, Vincent(D); Killion, Thomas(R); McGarrigle, Thomas(R); Sabatina, John(D); Schwank, Judy(D); Street, Sharif (F)(D); Tartaglione, Christine(D); Williams, Anthony(D); Yudichak, John(D) ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS TALKING POINTS Some patients cannot see their dentist of choice because some insurance companies do not directly pay the non-participating provider, and the patient cannot afford to pay for services upfront. Dentists who do not require advanced payment may never be paid for services rendered. This insurance practice unfairly inhibits patients from seeking care from their dentist of choice, even though they are paying for a benefit that should be able to be applied to any provider, regardless of whether or not the provider participates with the insurance plan. The insurance is a purchased product and belongs to the patient. Absence of assignment of benefits legislation forces patients to pay upfront for treatment they may not be able to afford. This can be particularly difficult for divorced or separated parents, single parents and low-income families. It would be much easier for patients to have the ability to assign their dental benefit directly to the provider. Parents who are divorced or separated may experience the problem where one parent has custody of a child, while the other parent carries the insurance. The latter may never send the insurance check to the custodial parent, who had to pay for MARCH/AP RIL 2018 | P EN N SYLVAN IA DEN TAL JOURNAL 9