Participating in your local elections is an important way to have your voice heard, especially because questions on your state ballots can have a major impact on the way your life can change.
One of the questions you might have seen as a Massachusetts voter in the 2022 election was about dental insurance. Here’s everything you need to know about ballot question number 2, as well as what its outcome means for you and your dental health.
Many people pay for dental insurance each month, but only a small portion of that money goes to dental care. The rest stays with the dental insurer, and a lot of that money becomes revenue for the insurance company.
Ballot referendum question 2 is a landmark question in the state legislature. It would make Massachusetts the only state in the country to require dental insurers to spend a percentage of premiums on patient care — 83 cents of every dollar, to be exact.
Dentists are passionate supporters of this referendum because it would allow consumers to get a better value from their insurers while also holding insurers accountable for the money that they receive. Of course, the insurance companies are not too thrilled, warning that it would trigger substantial cost increases that could cause many people to lose out on insurance to begin with.
There are two main components to the proposal set forth by question 2. The first is that it would require insurers to spend 83% of the price of monthly premiums towards patient care and initiatives that improve care quality. The remaining 17% can be used by insurers to pay for employee salaries and run customer hotlines.
The official term for the share of insurance premium money that goes towards patient care is called the medical loss ratio. The goal of many healthcare professionals is to close that gap and make it so that essentially 100% of the money consumers pay on insurance goes directly to getting quality care.
This isn’t really new, either, because the Affordable Care Act set up something similar when they made it so that health insurers must spend 80% of premiums on patient care or issue rebates to customers.
The other component of the ballot initiative would require insurers to share more data on their finances. Insurance companies are infamously not very transparent with the way they spend their money, so this would make it so that insurers need to be more forthcoming about their financial spending.
When this question arose on the ballot, voters could vote “yes” or “no.” A “yes” vote would regulate dental insurance rates and require the companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on dental expenses. Essentially, it would crack down on dental insurance companies to make their spending more fair and conducive to your wellness.
A “no” vote would make no change to the law regarding how dental insurance companies are regulated and must use their money.
The election which involved this question took place in November of 2022, with the majority of voters (more than 70% of them) choosing “yes” on question 2. This means that by 2024, new regulations will be taking place for dental insurance companies in the state of Massachusetts, making it easier for consumers to get better-quality dental care.
This was a major win for dental professionals in the state and across the country. It established the medical loss ratio, which can have significant waves on other aspects of healthcare across the country.
Now, dentists and lawmakers are working together to try to implement these same measures across the country. Dentists say that these laws treat patients with more respect and fairness. Patients deserve to know that most of their premium dollars will go toward their care.
Dental professionals also note that this new law doesn’t just put pressure on insurance companies, but it also puts pressure on lawmakers who have long had the power to make these bare minimum changes but failed to act.
It’s not much of a secret that insurance companies aren’t always operating in your best interest. While this watershed victory for both dentists and consumers is a massive step in the right direction, it’s still not enough. These changes won’t go into effect until 2024, leaving some time for insurance companies to continue misusing your money.
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With transparent pricing and no waiting period to see our vast network of talented dentists and hygienists, it’s a win-win regardless. Plus, you can see any dentist in our network: You don’t need to be tied down to the preferred providers that your insurance company pre-selects for you.
From routine cleaning to root canals, we’ve got you covered without actually needing to be covered by insurance. Find a Flossy dentist today and get started on a healthier smile without breaking the bank.
Massachusetts ballot question 2 was a landmark victory for dental professionals and consumers, as it tightened regulations as far as how dental insurance companies are able to use the money that customers spend on their premiums.
There’s still a long way to go before insurance companies treat consumers with holistic fairness. In the meantime, save up to 50% on common dental treatments out of pocket with Flossy.
What to know about Question 2, which would require dental insurers to spend a minimum rate on patient care | WBUR News
Affordable Care Act (ACA) - Glossary | HealthCare.gov
Massive Massachusetts win helps set stage for future insurance reform | American Dental Association
Massachusetts Question 2 ballot measure wins by large margin | American Dental Association
Yes on Question 2: Massachusetts passes dental insurance regulations | Boston.com