On behalf of its members, the California Dental Association has filed a legal action against Delta Dental of California in San Francisco Superior Court.
The legal action challenges Delta Dental’s adjustments to Premier and PPO provider agreements effective Jan.1, 2023, which include significant fee reductions for many providers, increased administrative burdens and diminished value of benefit plans. CDA alleges that the board of directors of Delta Dental, a nonprofit, tax-exempt company, violated its fiduciary duties by, among other things, failing to conduct appropriate analysis of the need for and impact of the contract changes to Delta Dental’s provider networks and patients.
“CDA is committed to supporting our members in their practices and ensuring the patients we serve can access dental care,” said CDA president John Blake, DDS. “As a dental benefit plan company, Delta Dental has a responsibility to be transparent about such significant changes that affect its provider networks and their patients. CDA believes that Delta Dental failed to adequately consider the basis for and impact of these changes and has failed to offer sufficient justification for these actions.”
CDA previously sought clarification from Delta Dental on the methodologies used to justify the significant contractual amendments and reimbursement changes, including 20-40% rate reductions for most periodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons. Delta Dental, however, has stated that it would not provide any additional information, claiming that it is confidential and proprietary.
“Challenges with dental benefit plans are a top concern for CDA members as we are keenly aware that current dental benefit structures are not working for patients or dentists,” said Dr. Blake. “This litigation is a step toward increasing transparency and accountability. Significant work must be done to develop quality, standardized and meaningful dental benefit plan requirements that meet the oral health care needs of Californians.”
In 2018, CDA and Delta Dental of California reached a $65 million settlement agreement on behalf of Premier providers who had their fees reduced improperly by Delta Dental’s “inflationary adjustment percentage,” resulting in payments ranging from $500 to many thousands of dollars for 14,000 dentists. In the settlement, CDA also secured 120 days’ written notice of material changes to participating dentist agreements to all contracted Delta Dental providers and an individualized illustration of how those reductions would potentially affect the dentist’s practice.
According to findings of the 2022 Original Tooth Fairy Poll released by Delta Dental, the Tooth Fairy visited 79% of homes across the country with children ages 6 to 12 who have lost teeth. Most kids are demonstrating patience for the Tooth Fairy’s visit, with more than half of parents (61%) reporting that their child waited for their loose tooth to fall out, unlike 18% of their children that pulled their own tooth. One in three parents agree that the Tooth Fairy is a positive way to instill good oral health habits in their child.
The 2022 poll builds on insights gleaned over nearly a quarter of a century. A few additional highlights from this year’s poll include:
The Tooth Fairy continues to bring joy
- More than one in two parents say the Tooth Fairy gives their child something to be excited about (55% 2022 versus 53% 2021).
- This year, more parents indicate that the Tooth Fairy provides their child with an opportunity to celebrate something fun (55% 2022 versus 48% 2021).
- In fact, 35% of parents express the Tooth Fairy was the perfect way to spread joy in a year when they needed it most (compared to 34% 2021).
“Our oral health is essential to our overall health, and the time-honored tradition of the Tooth Fairy can help bring attention in a fun way to the importance of establishing proper oral hygiene habits at an early age,” said Jennifer Elliott, Chief Marketing Officer, Delta Dental Plans Association. “Delta Dental is committed to increasing the public’s oral health care awareness as we support millions of dental health journeys across America.”
The worth of a lost tooth — cash dominates
Since 1998, Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends. The 2022 Original Tooth Fairy Poll® indicates the Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift reached $5.36 per tooth, an all-time high in the 24-year history of the poll. This year’s value of a lost tooth has more than quadrupled since the inception of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® when the value of a lost tooth was $1.30. The 2022 poll’s average gift of $5.36 per tooth is 66 cents (14%) higher than the previous peak of $4.70 set last year and well over $1 (33%) more per tooth in 2020 ($4.03). The 2022 poll also finds that 80% of the time the Tooth Fairy leaves only money rather than some other physical gift.
About the survey
The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3%.
For more information about the Delta Dental-sponsored survey, Tooth Fairy resources for families and kids, and oral health tips for infants to pre-teen, visit the Original Tooth Fairy Poll.
The Delta Dental Institute released its 2021 Community Impact Report, highlighting the philanthropic investments that Delta Dental made last year to support the oral and overall health of communities across the country. A national leader in oral health giving, Delta Dental supported efforts and initiatives that expand access to care, advance health equity, build resilient communities, and innovate for a healthier tomorrow.
In total, Delta Dental invested $106 million in communities in 2021 — an increase over 2020 — and positively impacted more than 21.3 million lives.
“For nearly 70 years, Delta Dental has been driven by our mission to advance the oral and overall health of the people we serve and the communities we call home,” said James W. Hutchison, president & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “We are proud to be one of the nation’s leaders in oral health giving and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our communities and partners on the journey toward better health for all.”
“I’m so proud that our community impact work continues to focus on addressing health disparities and expanding access to care in underserved communities,” said Vivian Vasallo, executive director, Delta Dental Institute. “Equity is at the heart of what we do, and we’re committed to equipping all members of our communities with the tools they need to live their healthiest lives.”
The 2021 Community Impact Report, “Our mission: your health,” explores four main areas of Delta Dental’s community impact efforts:
- Expanding access to care: Delta Dental supported dental treatment and prevention programs — such as free dental clinics — that reached 10 million people and helped 4.4 million more get access to fluoridated water.
- Advancing health equity: Delta Dental funded scholarships and grants for underrepresented students pursuing careers in oral health, including support for dental students at Howard University and Meharry Medical College, the only two HBCU dental schools in America. Delta Dental also reached more than 10 million people through oral health education programs, with a focus on underserved communities.
- Building resilient communities: Delta Dental expanded access to healthy food, supporting food drives and food banks that supplied more than 17 million meals, and prioritized sustainability through investing in water bottle-filling stations in schools and other efforts.
- Innovating for a healthier tomorrow: Delta Dental focused on the future by funding research and supporting new care models and technologies, like medical-dental integration and teledentistry, to help develop new solutions to improve care.
To accompany the report, today Delta Dental also released a video and digital story detailing its community impact work, including an interactive map showcasing specific initiatives in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
The full report is available online at 2021cir.deltadental.com.
Delta Dental released the 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health. Findings from the Delta Dental-commissioned research of U.S. adults and parents of children ages 12 and younger illuminate what they thought about their oral health and what they did to properly care for it at home and with their dentist during 2021. A few highlights from this year’s report include:
Public interest prevails in getting smarter about oral health’s link to better health
- Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) and parents (96%) indicate that they consider oral health to be very, if not extremely, important to overall health.
- However, the research finds that many are unaware of how oral health and overall health are connected, as a significant number of people were unable to recognize the medical conditions that are linked to poor oral health, including strokes (38%), high blood pressure (37%) and diabetes (36%).
- The promising news is 9 in 10 (90%) adults are interested in learning about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
Visits to dentist on the rise
- Most children (89%) and adults (72%) went to the dentist last year.
- This year, significantly fewer parents report that their children are experiencing or have experienced oral health issues compared to surveys from the previous two years, which could correlate to the finding that significantly more children visited their dentist for preventive reasons in 2021 (92%) than the year before (81% in 2020).
- Nearly all (94%) adults plan to visit the dentist this year.
New research finds 9 in 10 U.S. adults want to learn about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
“While our survey indicates that most adults and parents across the United States understand that oral health is critically important to overall health, it appears that most don’t fully realize the ways oral health is linked to serious health issues. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding isn’t surprising, as people often think of the mouth and body as two distinct parts,” said James W. Hutchison, President & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “One way we continue to partner with the public on their journey to better health is by maintaining our commitment to elevate their awareness of the essential role of oral health.”
To read the full 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report and learn more about the report’s methodology and findings, click here.
About the research
The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental-commissioned research conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, by Material, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys to two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel:
- 1,172 parents of children ages 12 and younger.
- 1,027 nationally representative Americans ages 18+.
Quotas were set to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population of adults and parents with children ages 12 and younger. The report has a margin of error of +/- 3%.