How do you choose?
People make choices every day – what to have for breakfast, what to wear to work, and how to plan the day are just a few examples. Dentists constantly make choices about the care of their patients. This article deals with choices that dentists, and patients, have about dental insurance.
Dentists walk a fine line between being dedicated health care providers and being responsible business persons. Providing excellent dental care is wonderful, but can only be accomplished if the electricity remains on and the supplies and dental team continue to be paid. In the recent pandemic days, with the increased costs of doing business, dentists have had to pay even more attention to their bottom lines.
Insurance participating provider dentists, who have agreed to accept reduced fees, are in particularly difficult positions. The insurance fee schedule rarely, if ever, keeps up with increased costs. For this reason, many dentists have had to cancel their contracts as participating dentists in various insurance plans. This is a hard decision for a dentist to make.
The patient is now forced to make a difficult decision – do I stay or do I go? Do I try to make it work with my current dentist or do I leave the dentist that I have been with (often for years) in search of a dentist who is a participating provider in my plan?
If you are not thrilled with your current dentist, it’s an easier decision – find another participating provider. If you are happy with your dentist, however, it becomes more of a dilemma. Your first resource is the dental office’s business team. They can do some investigating and tell you what you can expect your insurance to pay to out of network providers.
The business team can also tell you what accommodations can be made to make your dental work manageable and affordable. No interest credit lines, payment plans, in house savings plans, and staggering the dental work are ways to mitigate the affordability problem. If that doesn’t work, a dental school may provide an option to complete your dental work.
If you have a healthy mouth the insurance decision is a little easier. Patients can plan for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
If you believe you must find another dental office for insurance reasons, make the move knowing that your “home” office is sure to welcome you back!