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Standing up to the dental insurance companies

Dr. Todd Irwin is a dentist in Port Angeles, Washington. Interviewed by KING 5 News he said he was no longer prepared to sit idle as Washington’s biggest dental insurer, Delta Dental, continued to cut his patients’ benefits.

“The patient may want to try to save a tooth, and you had options to do that. They have taken some of these away. Now the patients have to extract the tooth when they would have rather tried to save it,” Irwin explained.

Irwin is part of a group of dentists suing Delta Dental over the company’s disallow policy, demanding the insurer stop ignoring dentists calling for greater transparency and accountability within the company. Irwin believes his patients should have a full range of treatment options and should not have to worry about any pain once they leave his office.

A few years ago, dentists in California prevailed in a lawsuit against Delta Dental. The California Dental Association accused the insurer of reducing its reimbursements for its providers. After three years of litigation, the CDA won and received $34 million in damages.

The lesson here is that if dentists find the third-party payor is playing games, don’t just get angry, take action.

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