We get asked all the time about dental insurance, and it’s rarely a good conversation. In fact, our patients often ask us “why is dental insurance so bad?”
And, they have a point. Dental insurance typically is pretty lousy.
In our experience, dental insurance has almost always been the poor stepchild of insurance plans. Unlike health or home insurance that covers catastrophic events, dental insurance typically won’t cover much if something goes wrong with your teeth.
But patients aren’t the only ones frustrated about dental insurance and its limitations. It’s also difficult for practitioners to navigate this system and maintain the quality of care they want to provide.
In the final post of our three-part series, we’ll uncover how dental insurance has negatively impacted the culture of dental care for both patients and the industry as a whole.
Dental Insurance Has a Negative Impact on the Culture of Dental Care
Like we mentioned in our previous blog post, dental insurance companies have increasingly found ways to provide less and less coverage for the same premiums.
If you are like most people, you’ve been stuck playing a game called, “Will Insurance Cover It?” And if you were the loser—which happens more often than not—you were left with a very negative impression of dental care.
Patients are often faced with two options:
- Do what is best for you and accept the fact that you’ll be paying for the majority of your treatment.
- Live with the inconvenience or detrimental consequences because the insurance company refuses to cover your claim.
Under this system, patients are actually incentivized and less motivated to not take care of their health. And there’s a reason people are made to feel that way: the fewer claims you file, the more money the insurance company makes.
Dentists Tied to Insurance Contracts Are Overbooked and Overworked
Think of the insurance company as AAA for dentists. They sign up as an in-network provider, and in exchange, they get referrals for patients.
When dental offices sign up for these preferred provider contracts, they agree to dramatically discount their rates (sometimes in excess of 50%). For both dentists and patients, that might sound like a deal, right? The dentists receive more patients, and all they have to do is reduce their fees. Plus, the patient receives a discount on care.
But patients and practitioners pay in other ways. Because of an increased influx of patients, there’s a trade-off in the amount of personalized attention you receive.
Under this system, they have to:
- work much faster,
- rush through appointments,
- and see double the amount of patients than an out-of-network provider to make the same amount of money.
These dentists can’t feasibly put all their focus on their patients and still make a profit. They have to worry about back-office concerns to handle all the insurance paperwork AND driving enough patients to their office to offset the referral discount.
Although most dentists want to provide the highest quality care to their patients, it’s simply not possible in a high-volume, fast-paced (insurance based) dental office.
Insurance Shifts The Focus Onto Money, Not On Oral Health
As we mentioned above, life looks much more different for a dentist if they’re in deep as a preferred provider. As a whole, dentists join the industry to take care of people. But the limitations of insurance policies—combined with the pressure to make ends meet as a preferred provider—may force some dentists to focus on finances rather than what’s truly best for your oral health. And patients aren’t immune from this mindset either.
For example, let’s say a patient suffers from gum problems and tartar build-up that requires more frequent cleanings. A dental practice that is tied to insurance contracts might let this slide because insurance companies most likely won’t cover these extra cleanings.
Why? They know that even if a person can afford this relatively simple procedure, the patient might not be motivated to come in because their insurance isn’t going to cover the cost.
It’s almost like a mental trap. Not just to the patient, but to the practitioner as well.
At Smile Fort Worth, We Don’t Let Dental Insurance Dictate Our Care
At Smile Fort Worth, we don’t believe insurance companies should dictate your dental care.
When you walk into our office, you won’t be squeezed into our schedule and rushed in as if you were some part on an assembly line. We’re not hindered by insurance contracts, which means our practitioners have the time to sit down with you, get to know you, and present you with the best options for your long-term oral health.
We also provide a membership plan that’s just like dental insurance (but way better). Our membership plan, powered by Kleer, bypasses the waiting periods, low deductibles, and hassles of paperwork. It’s the perfect option for patients without insurance or who are looking to drop their current provider.
Get peace of mind at your appointments instead of being frustrated at check out. Call us today for more information on Smile Fort Worth’s Dental Membership and how it can benefit you and your oral health!