Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2002

RE: H.B. No. 2618

H.D. 1

S.D. 1



Honorable Robert Bunda

President of the Senate

Twenty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2002

State of Hawaii


Your Committee on Health and Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 2618, H.D. 1, entitled:


begs leave to report as follows:

The purpose of this measure is to allow dental patients the option of having their insurance reimbursement sent directly to a dentist of their choice, regardless of whether the dentist is a preferred provider.

Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by the Hawaii Dental Association, The Hawaii Dental Hygienists' Association, Hawaii Medical Association, and eight dentists and one dental hygienist. Hawaii Society of Anesthesia submitted testimony in support with a request to include all medical practitioners. Testimony in opposition to this measure was submitted by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Iron Workers Stabilization Fund, Hawaii Medical Service Association, and Hawaii Association of Health Plans. The Hawaii Dental Service and Hawaii Government Employees Association submitted comments on the measure.

Your Committee finds that the relationship between health insurance plans (plans) and health care providers (providers) primarily serves consumers by managing health care costs through contractual agreements between the plans and the providers that set fees and reimbursement options. Further, due to the limited number of plans in Hawaii, consumers generally have a broad choice of providers who voluntarily participate in plans and who receive direct reimbursement from the plans as a "participating" provider, usually at rates more favorable than for "nonparticipating" providers. However, your Committee further finds that in Hawaii and especially on the neighbor islands, dental care providers participate at a much lower rate than other providers and thus consumer choices amongst participating providers are more limited. Your Committee agrees that this measure is necessary to ensure that the broadest range of dental care providers is available to Hawaii consumers, while noting that this measure provides the option to the consumer of assigning reimbursement directly to the provider but does not mandate such direct reimbursement.

Upon further consideration, your Committee has amended this measure by:

(1) Changing the effective date to January 1, 2003; and

(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive changes for the purposes of clarity and style.

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health and Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2618, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2618, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health and Human Services,