ODA members and dental students meet with Sen. Terry Johnson during ODA Day at the Statehouse.

Legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from setting fees for non-covered services and improve licensure portability by entering into the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Licensure Compact recently passed the Ohio House Health Provider Services Committee following ODA Day at the Statehouse.

At ODA’s Day at the Statehouse, 105 dentists, dental residents, students and spouses met with their state senators and representatives on May 8. On that same day, with more than 100 ODA Day at the Statehouse attendees descending on the State Capitol, the Ohio House Insurance Committee passed House Bill 160, which would prohibit insurance companies from setting fees for services they do not cover, by a 9-5 vote.

Legislators heard the ODA’s message that the practice of dental insurance plans setting fees for dental services the insurance companies do not cover for enrollees is fundamentally unfair and unnecessarily interferes with the patient-dentist relationship.

At the time of print, House Bill 160 was awaiting approval in the Ohio House. Companion legislation, Senate Bill 115, which is identical to House Bill 160, has already passed the Ohio Senate with bipartisan support. Legislation was introduced in both chambers to expedite the process.

Shortly after Day at the Statehouse, Senate Bill 40, which would authorize Ohio to enter the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Licensure Compact, passed the House Health Provider Services Committee. During the hearing process, the non-covered services language from Senate Bill 115 and House Bill 160 was added to Senate Bill 40. The original version of Senate Bill 40 addressing the dental licensure compact only, passed the Senate in June 2023. ODA Executive Director David Owsiany said that the goal of adding the non-covered services language into the licensure compact bill was to put the ODA’s legislative priorities into a single vehicle for the Ohio House of Representatives’ consideration.

The compact is an interstate agreement that provides a pathway through which dentists and dental hygienists can obtain authorization to practice in states where they are not licensed. Joining the compact would allow dentists and dental hygienists who are licensed in a participating state to practice in any other participating state through a compact privilege. The compact promotes professional practice mobility while maintaining appropriate state dental board oversight.

At the time of print, Substitute Senate Bill 40 was awaiting a vote by the full House. If approved by the House, it will head back to the Senate for a concurrence vote and then on to the governor for final approval. ODA advocacy efforts will now focus on Substitute Senate Bill 40.

Day at the Statehouse attendees discussed all of these legislative initiatives with their legislators. In-person meetings were held with 86 legislative offices, including 28 of the 33 Senate offices and 54 of the 99 House offices. Additionally, 25 other offices in the House and Senate were contacted.

Attendees also spoke to their legislators about preventing the establishment of dental therapists in Ohio. Legislation to create dental therapists has not been introduced in Ohio for six years thanks to the grassroots advocacy efforts to educate lawmakers.

In addition to the grassroots efforts that took place during Day at the Statehouse, the ODA advocacy team has been working behind the scenes to support these legislative initiatives. ODA lobbyists have met with all Ohio legislators, organized dentists to testify before House and Senate committees and encouraged dentists to contact their legislators at key times to support these pieces of legislation.

For more details on the ODA’s advocacy initiatives, visit www.oda.org. If you would like to serve as a contact for a legislator in your area throughout the year, please contact Eric Richmond, director of legal and legislative services, by calling (800) 282-1526 or emailing eric@oda.org.