Image from

New York issues warning that charging insured dental patients for PPE during COVID-19 is not fair practice

Aug. 7, 2020
The New York Department of Financial Services says the charges are inappropriate, as dental patients are not bound to pay fees extending outside their insurance contracts.

In response to patient complaints, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has sent a letter to insurers regarding fees for personal protective equipment (PPE) charged by to patients by practices.1 The letter requests that insurers alert dental providers that they cannot charge additional fees for PPE—a practice that has arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic to cover surging infection control costs. The letter further states that insurers do not need to cover these fees and that dental practices must refund the extra fees collected.

The New York DFS oversees insurers and not providers. But as an advisory by the New York State Dental Association notes, "[T]here will be a collateral effect for dentists in that if they are a participating provider with an insurance plan, the plan will now seek to recover monies charged to their insureds separately for PPE."2

After a brief description of the circumstances of the complaints, the DFS letter states as follows:

"This circular letter reminds insurers authorized to write accident and health insurance in New York State, Article 43 corporations, health maintenance organizations, student health plans certified pursuant to Insurance Law § 1124, municipal cooperative health benefit plans, and prepaid health services plans (collectively, “issuers”) that they should ensure that insureds are not charged fees by participating providers for covered services that go beyond the insureds’ financial responsibility as described in the insureds’ policies or contracts."

Additional information:

Editor's note: The article was updated August 9, 2020, to include information regarding the New York State Dental Association advisement.


  1. Insurance Circular Letter No. 14 (2020). New York State Department of Financial Services. August 5, 2020. Accessed August 6, 2020.
  2. Governor Cuomo Announces DFS Guidance to Insurers that Participating Plan Providers Cannot Charge Separate Fees for PPE. New York State Dental Association. August 5, 2020. Accessed August 9, 2020.

Zachary Kulsrud is the editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's dental group, publishers of Dental EconomicsDentistryIQPerio-Implant Advisory, and RDH magazine.

About the Author

Zachary Kulsrud

Zachary Kulsrud is the editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's dental group, publishers of Dental Economics, DentistryIQ, Perio-Implant Advisory, and RDH magazine.

Updated July 7, 2020