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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2013 03:45 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo #22: Assignment of Dental Benefits

I plan to introduce legislation that would direct insurance companies to pay a dentist directly for services rendered to a patient. This concept is known as assignment-of-benefits.

Twenty-seven other states have enacted similar legislation, which gives patients the right to choose their providers based on their preference, even if the dentist does not participate within the patient’s insurance plan.

The bill specifically allows a patient to authorize payment of insurance benefits directly to the dental service provider in accordance with the provisions of their insurance policy. Payment to the dental service provider from the insurer may not exceed the amount that the insurer would otherwise have paid without the assignment of payment. The insurer may require written attestation of the assignment of the payment. Insurance contracts may not prohibit this practice.

Without assignment-of-benefits, patients are forced to pay for the full amount of the dental service upfront – which can be quite cost-prohibitive – or the dentist may risk performing a service without guarantee of payment. Assignment-of-benefits remedies this situation for all parties and thus improves access to care.

If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact my office at 717-787-6063. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB520