Affordable Care Act plan enrollment in the first few days of open enrollment this year reportedly exceeded last year's exchange activity, despite fears that outreach and advertising cuts would suppress enrollment. A source close to the process said more than 200,000 consumers selected health plans on the first day of enrollment, up from approximately 100,000 last year, and the number of HealthCare.gov visitors on the first day increased from 750,000 last year to more than 1 million this year.
An analysis by the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute found that 8.3% of dentists were affiliated with a dental service organization last year, compared with 7.4% in 2015, and other types of group practices are also growing, says Health Policy Institute Vice President Marko Vujicic. Younger dentists were more likely than their older counterparts to be affiliated with a DSO, and women were more likely than men to work with a DSO.
Louis Tratenberg, a dentist in Springfield, N.J., entered a settlement with the state comptroller office requiring him to repay Medicaid $250,000 for improperly billing the program from January 2011 to May 2016. Tratenberg was accused of submitting Medicaid claims for improperly documented services and overbilling for some claims, according to the comptroller's office.
Spending on dental care grew by 2.88% annually from 1996 through 2013, compared with 4% annual growth in spending on overall health care, researchers reported in JAMA. More than half of the spending growth on dental and health care was attributed to rising prices, but an aging population also had an effect.
Health insurers are ramping up efforts to raise awareness about the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, which started Nov. 1, in order to fill gaps left by the government's decision to slash spending on ACA advertising and outreach. Centene, Oscar Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota are investing in advertising to encourage more people to sign up, while Florida Blue and Independence Blue Cross are bringing experts into the community for face-to-face assistance.
A significant proportion of the US population lacks dental insurance and cannot afford dental care, and some 55 million live in areas that have a shortage of dental professionals, leaving hundreds to line up at free dental clinics like those run by Remote Area Medical. Stan Brock founded RAM to provide dental care in the world's poorest countries, but 90% of the organization's work now is in the US, serving people who are so desperate for care that some have extracted their own teeth.
Conventional amalgam dental fillings fail at about the same rate as newer composite resin fillings within the first year, but composite fillings were somewhat less likely to fail after five years, according to a study in Frontiers in Medicine. Alcohol consumption, smoking and certain MMP2 gene variants raise the risk of failure, the researchers found.
For dental payers, the mailroom can easily become a cumbersome task with the large amount of incoming mail and claims. A digital mailroom solution can be an effective and cost-savvy approach to streamline the flow of information. Join NADP on Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. CST for the free, sponsored webinar, ICS Digital Mailroom, Mail Intake Designed for the Modern Dental Payer. Visit the Knowledge Center for more details and to register.