Bill amendment could make dental, vision care more expensive

A last-minute amendment to a bill intended to limit when insurance companies could terminate policies may end up costing Kentuckians more out-of-pocket dental and vision expenses, Courier-Journal political writer Joseph Gerth writes in his weekly column.

The implications of House Bill 497 changed when Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, “filed a one-paragraph amendment that was brought to him at the last minute by a lobbyist for the Kentucky Dental Association,” Gerth writes. “That amendment said that if you have vision or vision insurance, your insurance provider can’t require your health care provider to give you discounted rates on services that aren’t paid for by the insurance plan.”
That could mean that low-cost plans that only cover a few procedures but offer “added benefit by making sure you’re not paying inflated prices for other services” may no longer be available, Gerth reports. Opponents say insurance companies will stop offering such plans because people won’t buy them without the discounts. And people who can’t afford more expensive plans will sacrifice dental and vision insurance.
On Tuesday, the Senate adopted the amendment and passed the bill. The bill cleared the House the next day. Gov. Steve Beshear has not indicated if he will sign or veto it.
Advocates say the bill will save in dental and vision care costs. Opponents say people will have difficulty having access to case. As for who’s right, Gerth writes: “Bill advocates have presented no evidence to suggest that, and there have been no full-fledged hearings for the dentists behind the bill to make their case or to answer the questions that need to be asked.” (Read more)
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