California Senate Passes Senator Skinner’s SB 1008 to Put Teeth in Consumer Protections for Dental Insurance Plans

May 30, 2018

California Senate Passes Senator Skinner’s SB 1008 to Put Teeth in Consumer Protections for Dental Insurance Plans

Today, with bipartisan support, the California Senate passed Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) bill that establishes new protections to give consumers full access to information related to dental insurance policies. The legislation, SB 1008, ensures that dental insurance providers are subject to similar disclosure requirements as health insurance. SB 1008 is now on its way to the Assembly.

“No one should have to read 80 pages of legalese to understand their dental plan,” Skinner said. “Under SB 1008 dental insurers would provide details on what their plans cover in a simple, easy to understand format, similar to what is already required for health insurance plans.” 

SB 1008 will make it easier for consumers to understand and compare dental plans by establishing a uniform “summary of benefits and coverage” template. Consistency in how plan information is presented will enable consumers to understand plan benefits, know how much treatment will cost, and comparison shop. SB 1008 also requires dental insurers to report coverage information to out-of-network providers so those providers can inform patients what they can expect to pay for treatment.

SB 1008’s uniform summary of benefits would also include the plan’s “dental loss ratio.” Loss ratio information conveys how much of the premium goes to paying for dental care versus paying for dental plan administration or other overhead costs.

“Dental health is no less important than the health of the rest of our bodies,” said Skinner. “My bill fills a gap in consumer protection by holding dental insurers to a similar standard as health insurers.”

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.