Washington — Two senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice for an update on their efforts to combat anticompetitive conduct in the health insurance industry following the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption.
The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act became law on Jan. 13 and is aimed at improving transparency. The law is the culmination of a multi-years effort by the ADA and dentists to persuade Congress that health care insurance, including dental plans, should no longer be protected from some of the federal antitrust laws.
In a July 20 letter to both agencies, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., said "public information is lacking” on what steps the FTC or DOJ have taken to extend antitrust enforcement to the health insurance industry.
ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson thanked the senators for sending the letter and said the Association hopes it will lead the agencies to investigate possible anticompetitive practices and activities of health care insurers.
“The ADA is confident that increased competition among health insurance and dental plans will lead to improved coverage for patients and more attractive terms for dentists who participate,” Dr. Klemmedson said. “It’s a win for everyone.”
Sens. Leahy and Daines gave the FTC and DOJ an Aug. 4 deadline to answer the following questions:
The repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies was the subject of the May 17 Tooth Talk podcast. During the one-hour podcast, Tooth Talk Hosts Sarah Milligan and Peter Aiello sat down with George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, who previously worked in the Justice Dept.’s Antitrust Division and at the House Judiciary Committee, to discuss the role dentists played in the passing the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act.
To listen to the episode, visit the Tooth Talk website.