Lawsuit filed in California and Illinois to hold insurer responsible for denying customers approved teledentistry benefits
NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SmileDirectClub, Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC), the first direct-to-consumer telehealth platform for teeth straightening, announced today it has filed lawsuits against Delta Dental Plans Association and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Delta Dental of California. SmileDirectClub’s claims calls out the bad faith motivation by Delta Dental and their breach of responsibilities as an insurer to millions. With 60% of Americans not having access to health care and only 1% of the population being able to afford and access traditional orthodontic care, the importance of insurance providers not discriminating against a platform that expands access to care is paramount.
The claims allege that the Delta Dental entities have denied their customers teledentistry benefits allowed under their policies by systematically refusing to cover clear aligner therapy as prescribed by SmileDirectClub Affiliated Dentists using the SDC Teledentistry Platform.
“On behalf of consumers we filed this complaint to hold this insurer accountable for misleading its customers and for limiting their access to approved, affordable and effective dental care,” said Susan Greenspon Rammelt, Chief Legal Officer, EVP Business Affairs, SmileDirectClub. “While other major insurers and legislatures are taking steps to give consumers choice and access to telehealth; more important today than ever before, Delta Dental continues to deny claims from consumers who have paid for insurance coverage. Their actions are entirely contradictory to the growing need and demand for telehealth, especially amid a global pandemic where millions have relied upon remote, digital care.”
SmileDirectClub’s lawsuit filings detail Delta Dental’s scheme to preserve profits by depriving its insureds of affordable dental treatment, placing their bottom lines over the best interests of their insured and in contravention of the language of their own policies; which require coverage. Notably, Delta Dental is the only major insurance provider in the US refusing to provide this coverage for its insureds. Clear aligner therapy through SmileDirectClub’s teledentistry platform is covered by Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Empire BlueCross and BlueShield.
Greenspon Rammelt continued: “Teledentistry has taken on an even greater significance and has become even more widely accepted in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. It enhances access to healthcare while reducing the need for face-to-face interaction that could spread disease. To deny claims tied to treatment through teledentistry is not only wrongfully punishing the consumer, it is in direct opposition to the social distancing practices essential to mitigating overall health risks for the good of everyone.”
SmileDirectClub, Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC) (“SmileDirectClub”) is an oral care company and creator of the first direct-to-consumer medtech platform for teeth straightening, now also offered directly via dentist and orthodontists’ offices. Through our cutting-edge teledentistry technology and vertically integrated model, we are revolutionizing the oral care industry, from clear aligner therapy to our affordable, premium oral care product line. SmileDirectClub’s mission is to democratize access to a smile each and every person loves by making it affordable and convenient for everyone. SmileDirectClub is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and operates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit SmileDirectClub.com.
SmileDirectClub Media Relations: Press@SmileDirectClub.com
*Original article online at https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/30/2055909/0/en/Smile-Direct-Club-Holds-Delta-Dental-Entities-Accountable-for-Depriving-Millions-of-its-Insureds-Affordable-Dental-Treatment.html