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HPI: 8 out of 10 dentists agree reforms to establish a medical loss ratio for dentistry are needed in their state

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Dentists across the country are largely in favor of dental insurance reform, according to findings from the ADA Health Policy Institute's Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll.

More than 1,100 dentists responded to the November wave of the poll, with more than 80% of dentists in states other than Massachusetts saying they'd be interested in participating in grassroots efforts to establish a medical loss ratio for dental plans in their state.

The poll question was inspired by Massachusetts, which passed a ballot measure on Election Day requiring the state's dental insurance carriers to spend at least 83% of premium dollars on patient care rather than on administrative costs, salaries and profits. Carriers that do not meet this minimum standard would have to refund the difference to covered individuals and groups, according to the measure.

The monthly poll also found that dental practice schedules have been steady for the past six months with dentists reporting their schedules being 85% full on average in November. The top three factors preventing practices from reaching full capacity were patient no-shows, cancellations and not enough patients making appointments.

Other results from the poll, which was conducted Nov. 8-13, included:

-  More practices now report that low patient demand for appointments is limiting their busyness, with slight increases seeing over the last several months.
-  The high demand for hygienists, dental assistants and administrative staff has been declining over the past several months.
-  Dentists' confidence in the economy has remained fairly stable over the past few months, with 63% reporting they were "very confident" or "somewhat confident" in the recovery of their particular practice but only 26% feeling that way about the U.S. economy overall.

Each month, the ADA Health Policy Institute conducts a poll of U.S. dentists to measure the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to gather their opinions on other current and emerging issues impacting their practices. The poll, Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry, is a continuation and expansion of research HPI conducted between the onset of the pandemic and December 2021.

To join the panel, read the full monthly reports or view the new interactive state dashboard, visit ADA.org/HPIpoll .


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