Dispute & Appeal Process Overview

Our process for dental provider disputes and appeals 

We have a formal process that allows participating and non-participating dentists to file an appeal when they:

  • Do not agree with a payment decision
  • Do not agree with a clinical decision; or
  • Do not agree with the Usual and Customary Reimbursement (UCR) allowance

Dentists have two levels of appeals available. Both are subject to individual state laws and regulations.

Deadline to file appeals

Providers must appeal within 180 days from the receipt of the adverse decision, unless otherwise required by contract or state requirement. 

A dentist may file an appeal on behalf of an Aetna member, if the member designates the provider as his or her authorized representative. Members can do this by filling out the Authorized Representative Request form. In these instances, Aetna’s Member Appeals Process will be followed.

The following is designed to give dentists step-by-step instructions to appeal a claims denial, a clinical decision or a usual and customary determination.

To dispute a payment denial

There are several options by which to dispute a payment decision, either in part or full:

  • By telephone (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
  • By mail
  • By fax
  • By logging into the secure provider website, www.aetnadental.com, to access the EOB Tool

The process includes two levels of appeals.

  • Level 1 appeals
    - Requests to change a reconsideration decision
    - An initial use review decision
    -­ An initial claim decision based on medical necessity or experimental/investigational coverage criteria or usual and customary reimbursement (UCR) allowances
  • Level 2 appeals
    - Requests to change a Level 1 appeal decision

Reconsiderations - Formal reviews of claims reimbursements or coding decisions, or claims that require reprocessing.

Initial steps

To dispute a claim denial by telephone, call 1-800-451-7715. Please have a copy of the dentist Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement and the original claim for reference.

How to submit a Level 1 appeal by mail or fax

To dispute a claim denial by mail or fax, you must submit the following information:

  • A copy of the Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
  • A copy of the original claim
  • Any supporting documentation you believe will assist Aetna in its review, including a cover letter, a brief description of the situation, and any pertinent information

For all states except California, send this information to:

Aetna Dental
Complaints, Appeals and Grievances
P.O. Box 14597
Lexington, KY 40512-4597

Or fax to: 1-877-867-8729

Use this box for California grievances and appeals:

Aetna Dental
P.O. Box 10462
Van Nuys, CA 91410

Once all necessary information is received, Aetna will re-evaluate the initial determination. If the dispute is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will reprocess the claim for any services affected by the decision and the dentists will be notified of Aetna’s determination of the Level 1 appeal in writing within 30 business days of Aetna’s receipt of the appeal.

If the Level 1 decision upholds Aetna’s original position, dentists will receive a letter that includes: the decision; a description of the documentation that supports the decision; and a notice of the right to request review of the adverse determination as a "Level 2" appeal; or notice that specifies the outcome with no further opportunity to appeal.

How to submit a Level 2 appeal (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
  • If a dentist is not satisfied with the resolution of the Level 1 appeal, they may file a Level 2 appeal. This appeal must be filed within 60 days of the date of the Level 1 appeal decision. State mandates allowing a longer time period for a provider appeal will take precedence.
  • Aetna will provide a written response of the Level 2 appeal within 30 business days of receipt of the appeal.
  • If the Level 2 claim dispute is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will reprocess the claim for any services affected by the decision.
  • If the Level 2 decision upholds Aetna’s original position, the dentist will receive a final resolution letter that includes the decision and a description of the documentation that supports the decision.

To dispute a clinical decision

    A clinical appeal is a request to change an adverse initial determination for care or services that were denied by Aetna. A dentist may dispute a clinical denial on a member’s behalf with written authorization by the member.

      Initial steps

        Aetna offers providers several options by which to dispute a clinical decision:

        • By telephone (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
        • By mail
        • By fax
        • Online (Log in to the secure provider website, www.aetnadental.com, to access the EOB Tool.)

        To dispute a clinical denial by telephone, call 1-800-451-7715. Please have a copy of the dentist Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement and the original claim for reference.

        To dispute a denial by mail or fax, the dentist should submit the following information:

        • A copy of the EOB
        • A copy of the original request for services
        • A copy of the original denial letter
        • Any supporting documentation the dentist believes will assist Aetna in its review, including a cover letter and brief description of the situation. Providers should include their Aetna provider identification number with their documentation. The dentist also must state in writing that they are disputing this decision on behalf of the member.

        For all states except California, send this information to:

          Aetna Dental
          Complaints, Appeals and Grievances
          P.O. Box 14597
          Lexington, KY 40512-4597

            Or fax to 1-877-867-8729

              Use this box for California grievances and appeals:

                Aetna Dental
                P.O. Box 10462
                Van Nuys, CA 91410

                All clinical disputes will be reviewed by an Aetna dental consultant who was not involved in the initial determination. A written response will be provided by Aetna within 30 business days of receipt of the appeal. If denial is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will notify the dentist of the new decision and issue an updated EOB on behalf of the member.

                How to submit a Level 1 appeal
                • The Dentists will be notified of Aetna’s determination of the Level 1 appeal in writing within 30 business days of Aetna’s receipt of the appeal.
                • If the Level 1 appeal is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will notify the dentist of the new decision and will issue an updated EOB on behalf of the member.
                • If the Level 1 decision upholds Aetna’s original position, the dentist will receive a letter from Aetna that includes:
                  - Our decision
                  - Documentation that supports the decision
                  - A notice of the dentist’s right to request a Level 2 appeal; or
                  - A notice that details the outcome with no further opportunity to appeal
                How to submit a Level 2 appeal (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
                • If the dentist is not satisfied with the resolution of the Level 1 appeal, they may file a Level 2 appeal. This appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date of a Level 1 appeal decision. State mandates allowing a longer time period for a provider appeal will take precedence.
                • Aetna will issue a written response within 30 business days of receipt of the appeal.
                • If the Level 2 denial is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will notify the dentist of the new decision and will issue an updated EOB on behalf of the member.
                • If Aetna’s original position is upheld, the dentist will receive a final resolution letter that includes the decision and a description of the documentation that supports the decision.

                To dispute a UCR denial

                Aetna offers several options by which to dispute a UCR decision (either in part or full):

                • By telephone (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
                • By mail
                • By fax
                • Online (Log in to the secure provider website, www.aetnadental.com, to access the EOB Tool.)
                Initial steps

                To dispute a UCR denial by telephone, call 1-800-451-7715. Please have a copy of the dentist Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement and the original claim for reference.

                To dispute a claim denial by mail or fax, you must submit the following information:

                • A copy of the EOB
                • A copy of the original claim
                • Any supporting documentation the dentist believes will assist Aetna in its review, including, but not limited to a cover letter, a brief description of the complexity of the applicable procedure, the dentist’s geographical location

                For all states except California, send this information to:

                Aetna Dental
                Complaints, Appeals and Grievances
                P.O. Box 14597
                Lexington, KY 40512-4597

                Or fax to 1-877-867-8729

                Use this box for California grievances and appeals:

                Aetna Dental
                P.O. Box 10462
                Van Nuys, CA 91410

                Once all necessary information is received, Aetna will re-evaluate the initial determination. A written response will be provided within 30 business days of receipt. State mandates allowing a longer time period for a provider appeal will take precedence.

                If the dispute is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will reprocess the claim for any services affected by the decision.

                Nothing herein shall require Aetna to provide proprietary or confidential information of a third party or in any way to warrant the performance by any third party with respect to any database referenced.

                How to submit a Level 1 appeal
                • Dentists will be notified of Aetna’s determination of the Level 1 appeal in writing within 30 business days of Aetna’s receipt of the appeal.
                • If the Level 1 appeal is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will reprocess the claim for any services affected by the decision.
                • If the Level 1 decision upholds Aetna’s original position, dentists will receive a letter that includes:
                  - Our decision
                  - Documentation that supports the decision
                  - A notice of the right to request review of the adverse determination as a Level 1 appeal or
                  - Notice that specifies the outcome with no further opportunity to appeal
                How to submit a level 2 appeal (subject to individual state laws/regulations)
                • If a dentist is not satisfied with the resolution of the Level 1 appeal, they may file a Level 2 appeal. This appeal must be filed within 60 days of the date of the Level 1 appeal decision. State mandates allowing a longer time period for a provider appeal will take precedence.
                • Aetna will provide a written response of the Level 2 appeal within 30 business days of receipt of the appeal.
                • If the Level 2 claim dispute is decided in the dentist’s favor, Aetna will reprocess the claim for any services affected by the decision.
                • If the Level 2 decision upholds Aetna’s original position, the dentist will receive a final resolution letter that includes: the decision and a description of the documentation that supports the decision.
                •  

                  Timeframes for reconsiderations
                  and appeals

                Dispute level 

                Provider submission timeframe

                Aetna response timeframe

                Contacts 

                Reconsideration 

                Within 180 calendar days of the initial claim decision 

                Within 3-5 business days of receiving the request.

                Within 30 business days of receiving the request if review by a specialty unit is needed. 

                Call: 1-800-451-7715

                Write: See the EOB for the appeal address

                Submit online through your secure provider website. 

                Level 1 and Level 2 appeals

                Within 60 calendar days of the previous decision. 

                Within 30 business days of receiving the request. If additional information is needed, within 30 business days of receiving that information. 

                Call: 1-800-451-7715

                Write:
                Aetna Dental Appeals Team
                PO Box 14957
                Lexington, KY 40512-4957 

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