Iowa governor signs fee-capping bill

It's official: Insurance companies in Iowa can no longer set fees for services they don't cover.

Gov. Chet Culver signed House File 2229 into law on April 28. The bill passed by a vote of 49-0 in the state Senate and 98-1 in the House.

The bill's key provision reads: "A contract between a dental plan and a dentist for the provision of services to covered individuals under the plan shall not require that a dentist provide services to those covered individuals at a fee set by the dental plan unless such services are covered services under the dental plan."

Lobbyists for the insurance industry argued against the bill, contending that Iowans could end up being charged excessive fees for dental care their insurance doesn't cover, according to a story in the Des Moines Register.

"We applaud Governor Culver for his continued commitment to the importance of dental care for the overall health of Iowans," said Steven Bradley, D.D.S., president of the Iowa Dental Association, in a news release. "This bill passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support during this year’s legislative session because policymakers and the governor know how important it is to continue strengthening Iowans’ access to the best quality health care available.

"Iowa dentists are leaders in providing dental care to Medicaid and hawk-i patients and Governor Culver has been a strong champion of those efforts every step of the way. This new legislation in addition to last year’s extension of the dental-only portion of hawk-i helps make sure as many providers as possible can participate in these programs."

Rhode Island approved a similar law last June. Other states that have enacted dental fee-capping legislation include Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Virginia, Washington, Oregon, and South Dakota.

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