What Does Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT) Mean?
Least expensive alternative treatment refers to a provision in a health insurance policy stating that the insurer will cover the least expensive option in situations when multiple possibilities are available. This means that policyholders will have to opt for the least expensive treatment or pay out of pocket for a more expensive one. The clause helps reduces costs for the insurer.
It is also known as the least expensive professionally acceptable alternative treatment (LEPAAT).
Insuranceopedia Explains Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT)
Mostly found in dental insurance, the least expensive alternative treatment provisions represents one way insurers can lower the costs of providing coverage. It allows them to cover treatments that are considered adequate and least expensive. Providing acceptable as opposed to the most expensive treatment helps insurance companies increase their net underwriting income.
For example, a dentist tells a policyholder they have multiple filling options for their cavity. Because the enamel-colored filling is the least expensive, a policy with a LEAT clause would only cover this option. This way, insurers provide dental insurance that covers clinically and professionally acceptable treatments without paying for what may be considered more so a "cosmetic" treatment as opposed to functional one.