Dental fraud has been a national scourge for years, but new legislation introduced in California is set to make the practice less of a problem.
Gavin Newsom and a coalition of dental health advocates introduced SB 581, a bill that will require all dentists to have the highest standards of evidence-based care, in a bill introduced Monday by Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Los Angeles.
The bill, which has support from a coalition including the Los Angeles County Dental Association, California State Association of Dental Boards, the California Association of State Dentists and the California Dental Foundation, aims to end the practice of dentists charging exorbitant fees for their services.
Newsom said in a statement that the new law will require dental professionals to demonstrate a “robust program of evidence to show the practice is medically necessary.”
Dental insurance companies will be required to verify that a dental procedure was performed by a dental doctor and the cost of the treatment.
In addition, the law requires insurance companies to pay for any cost associated with the care provided by dentists.
The legislation also prohibits dentists from charging for procedures that are not medically necessary and requires dental schools to teach students about the importance of patient-centered care and preventative care.
Dental insurers have faced growing scrutiny from the federal government over claims by their patients and the health care system about their costs and services.
In March, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that dental care is a primary reason for the number of Americans with high medical costs, and that dental insurance is one of the ways that consumers can get care.
In June, the House voted to repeal a rule that required insurers to pay out-of-pocket for care provided to people with pre-existing conditions.