Senate Bill 281, which would require greater transparency from dental benefits companies that engage in network leasing, was unanimously approved by the Senate Health Policy Committee and then cleared the full Senate on a 36-1 vote June 28.
Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and Neema Katibai, MDA manager of government and insurance affairs, testified in support of the bill to the Senate Health Policy Committee on June 21. Earlier this year, Singh worked with the Michigan Dental Association to introduce SB 281.
Network leasing occurs when a dental benefit company allows a third party, usually another dental benefits company or administrator, to access its network of providers. As a result, a dentist who signed a participation agreement with the dental benefit company will be considered “in-network” with the third parties who have been granted access, even though the dentist never agreed to their networks, fees, and policies. This is particularly frustrating for dentists because it is difficult to identify third-party affiliations before claims are paid.
The MDA will work towards passage of SB 281 in the House of Representatives later this year.