California Dental Association and Delta Dental of California Announce Final Approval of Provider Contract Litigation with $65M Settlement

May 1, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Dental Association and Delta Dental of California jointly announce today that the San Francisco Superior Court has granted final approval of a $65 million class action settlement that resolves lengthy litigation brought against Delta Dental concerning conduct by Delta Dental relating to its Participating Dentist Agreement (PDA) with Delta Dental Premier dentists.

CDA and seven individual dentists began this litigation with an arbitration claim in 2013, followed by a 2014 Superior Court lawsuit in which plaintiffs claimed that Delta Dental’s conduct, including its application of a limitation on requests for fee increases based on an inflation adjustment percentage (INAP), breached the PDA. Delta Dental denied the allegations and claimed that all of its conduct was lawful and proper under both the PDA and California’s Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act.

“CDA brought this case challenging Delta Dental’s conduct because our members have a right to fair contracting provisions and it would have been virtually impossible for them to challenge Delta Dental on their own,” said CDA President Natasha Lee, DDS. “This agreement is an example of CDA’s willingness to fight for its members and we are pleased to see the litigation resolved in a positive way.”

“Although Delta Dental has at all times adhered to its contracts with Premier dentists and complied with both the letter and spirit of California’s Knox-Keene Act, we are satisfied to put this litigation behind us and remain committed to all our participating dentists,” said Delta Dental President and CEO Tony Barth.

Specific terms of the settlement include:

  • Delta Dental will pay up to $65,029,299 to Premier dentists whose requests for fee increases submitted to Delta Dental were limited by the INAP.

  • While allocations vary significantly depending upon a dentist’s practice size and the degree to which requests for fee increases were limited by the INAP, more than 14,000 dentists have been allocated an amount ranging from $500 to many thousands of dollars, with the average allocation calculated at $4,480. A notice of allocation amounts will be sent to those involved — no claim form is required.

  • Delta Dental will provide Premier dentists with 120 days’ notice of material changes to the PDA. Delta Dental also will provide, for each Premier dentist affected by any future maximum fee allowance reductions, an individualized illustration of how those reductions would potentially affect the dentist’s practice.

  • Delta Dental will separately pay $2.35 million for attorneys’ fees and expenses and incentive payments of $3,500 to each individual class representative, as ordered by the Court.

Details on the terms of the settlement agreement and all significant related documents will be available online at DeltaDentalofCaliforniaSettlement.com.

About the California Dental Association

The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 27,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit cda.org.

About Delta Dental

Delta Dental of California is part of a group of companies under common management who together provide dental benefits to 36.5 million people in 15 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It is part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, whose member companies collectively cover more than 75 million people nationwide.

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