July 19, 2017

AG reviewing Delta Dental spin off

Courtesy of State House News Service
Attorney General Maura Healey.

(Updated) Attorney General Maura Healey is reviewing how a new for-profit subsidiary of Delta Dental of Massachusetts will impact the charitable mission of the nonprofit health insurer, a spokeswoman for Healey said Thursday, about a week after the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI) approved a plan formed by the subsidiary.

Delta Dental, the state's largest dental insurer, applied with the DOI to offer its new plan, Total Choice PPO, earlier this year and received approval last week. But a group of opposing dentists asked Healey to review the proposal in June, saying Delta discriminated against dentists who opted not to join the new plan and that forming a plan under a for-profit subsidiary blocks transparency of the nonprofit parent's operations.

Healey spokeswoman Emily Snyder said the review has been ongoing this year after similar complaints were made to Healey's office from other stakeholders. The Attorney General's Office is charged with overseeing nonprofit charitable organizations.

According to Delta Dental, the Total Choice PPO offers an affordable plan option for employers wishing to offer dental insurance but struggle with the cost. About 4,000 dentists have joined the PPO, Delta Dental said in a statement last week.

Delta Dental spokesman Corey Welford noted in a statement Thursday that Healey's review is not new, following the DOI's approval last week, and said operating a for-profit subsidiary is a common practice among insurers.

"The structure we have proposed is common in Massachusetts and simply allows us to offer an additional, more affordable coverage option to families and businesses across the state. Thousands of Massachusetts dentists already participate in other PPOs, virtually all of which are offered by for profit organizations, including the for-profit subsidiary of another nonprofit company. We are excited to have begun offering this new Total Choice product after it was approved by the Division of Insurance last week," Welford said.

This original version of this story was updated to clarify the timeline of Attorney General Healey's review.

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