Dental insurance is a tricky subject. When looking at it from a patient’s point of view there is a good reason to pay a company to help with coverage for dental treatment. Dental insurance allows the patient to feel they can afford dental care. The person feels covered, taken care of, and protected. There is also a dark side when considering coverage for dental treatment. It is the business side of the insurance game. In the same way a used car salesman will exaggerate the positive points when you are looking at a car, such as the new tires and the spiffy spare tire in the trunk or the jack which is included, and will downplay the negative, possible past accidents, you should be prepared to ask questions to get the most of what you pay for. The insurance brokers are selling to a customer’s needs, not necessarily to satisfy a patient’s needs. A person’s expectations of what they have paid for can often leave a bad taste in their mouth when they show up at their dental office with their shiny, new dental insurance card and find out what their “benefits” are or are not.
The question, “Do you take my insurance?” can be too vague of a question when calling to search for a dentist. Why? Because most offices can and will accept benefits from any company that is providing coverage for its customers. Most offices will also file the dental claims for the services provided by the dentist. What you want to know is, “I am covered with Company X, is your doctor a preferred provider with that company?” Or, “Is Dr. X. contracted with Company X? I am looking to save money by using a network provider.” If your goal is to save money, don’t be afraid to say so. You are more likely to have your expectations met if you are clear in what you are seeking. Another possibility to consider is that your policy will dictate which dentist you use by withholding payment, unless you use a dentist contracted with that company. If you like the choice to be yours, be sure your policy allows you to choose your dentist.
Currently, the office where I spend my day, the dentist has decided to be contracted with one company. The question often comes up as to why the doctor is not signed up with more insurance companies. I will explain, you may not like what I have to say, but here it goes. He prefers to provide dentistry to his patients in a low-volume, less-rushed environment so that the he can spend quality time with each person. We want our patients to feel comfortable while they are here and that takes time and personal attention. The relaxing atmosphere can be lost when you are pushed to do more for less, which can happen depending on how many companies the dentist is contracted with. This is due to the discounts and adjustments which are made when a provider becomes contracted with each company. Plus, a dental office patient load will most likely increase because insurance companies will promote their contracted providers. A contract can limit your choices, be sure you get what you pay for.
A great way to find a dentist is to ask around. If your company provides insurance there is a big probability that others in your workplace have found someone they trust, like, and the dental office works well with the insurance company which covers the company’s employees. Your friends and coworkers will often give you the low down on the office too. Such as sharing which is their favorite hygienist or dental assistant and the little things that make their dentist, “THE BEST!” We love inside referrals, because that shows that we are doing something right.
There is more to this story, so stay in touch and keep in mind that Knowledge is Power. The more you know about your individual dental insurance policy, the more empowered you become about your dental health.