Chair Gonzales, Vice Chair Huffman, Ranking Member Antonio, and members of the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify in opposition of House Bill 95. My name is Sandi Davis, a Benefits Analyst with Union Benefits Trust. We represent two-thirds of state of Ohio employees, working families in the state of Ohio.
We write in opposition of HB 95, legislation that uncaps the fixed dental fees chargeable for non-covered services.
First, let us slow down, take a step back and reevaluate the importance of accessible, affordable, quality dental health care.
With so much information surrounding the correlation between oral health and overall health, is this really the time to put a higher price tag on those services? If we are to continue the strides being made in our attempts to control the cost of health care, we must not change the current landscape with respect to capped dental fees.
Let’s use periodontal (gum) disease as an example. Following treatment such as planing and scaling or a more invasive surgical procedure, the patient should have periodontal maintenance visits every three months to build upon the success of the treatment. Most dental insurance plans don’t cover periodontal maintenance visits; hence, the patient would be responsible. We know of the correlation between gum disease and diabetes and when a patient can no longer afford the maintenance visits, the sugar in the uncontrolled gum disease further exacerbates their diabetes and the patient ends up back at square one.
State of Ohio employees have been six (6) years without pay increases, while facing increases in health care and the overall cost of living. State of Ohio Union employees, averaging 32,000, have realized approximately $100,000+ in network discount savings per benefit period. You can look at this two ways. Will $100,000+ really make a difference spread among the network providers in Ohio? Or, this could make a real difference in the life of someone struggling to make ends meet while taking control of their overall health.
Second, there are roughly 6900 licensed general and specialty dentists in Ohio. One large dental insurance carrier in Ohio networks with approximately 5600 of those dentists. These 5600 dentists made a conscience decision to contract with this carrier knowing the provisions of the contract and the promised return on the investment of being a network provider. It seems unconscionable that they and the Ohio Dental Association who represents them now wish to usurp those provisions through legislative action. They have every right to choose not renew those contracts in the future, but until such time, they must be made to keep the promises they made.
As many of you know, the organization I represent, OCSEA/ UBT serves working Ohio families who depend on us to speak to legislators on their behalf when any services and benefits are being attacked and their protections are being eroded.
House Bill 95 will adversely affect the pockets of not only our members, but all working Ohioans and we respectfully ask that you oppose this bill.
Thank you and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.