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Many consumers and dental offices are facing financial challenges, but dentist's offices that are charging patients an extra fee for personal protective equipment could be a violation of Maryland law.
The Attorney General's Office has received about 20 complaints from consumers, saying most of the extra fees range from $10 to $20.
The attorney general issued a consumer advisory in June, saying many dental insurance agreements prohibit certain upfront fees, and consumers should be aware that this practice may violate the Consumer Protection Act.
The Maryland State Dental Association told 11 News, "After donating much of their PPE to front-line workers at the beginning of the pandemic, dentists seem to be getting penalized every other step. Maryland dentists will do everything possible to comply with the law and the attorney general's advisory. Their patients are why dental practices are reopening. Dentists have considerably higher costs for infection control that other healthcare professionals don't have, so MSDA is also working with insurance companies and asking them to step up and help provide relief to dentists."
The attorney general wants to hear from consumers whose dentist or physician's offices are charging those extra fees. Consumers can contact the Attorney General's Health Education and Advocacy Unit with questions or complaints. The unit will investigate the complaint and mediate a billing dispute with the dental provider.
Complaints can be filed at MarylandCares.org or by calling the HEAU hotline at 410-528-1840 or 410-230-1712 (en Español), or by emailing HEAU@oag.state.md.us.