Many patients and prospective patients ask about managed dental care. They feel “forced” to select a listed dental provider or “preferred” provider. They may feel comfort in that the plan is “managed”. Well, there a certain things going on with these managed dental care plans that patients often do not realize.
Yes, the plan is perhaps “managed”. However, the management is to limit the expenses of the insurance company. That is what is managed. The insurance companies enter into contracts with these dentists who are listed as providers. The dentists are thus “in network”. In doing this, these dentists lose control of their fees and are forced to accept fees which may be 50-80% of their normal fees. This may sound great for patients. Who does not like lower fees? So for the insurance companies, they limit their financial losses by entering into contracts with some dentists.
Now, let’s look at the in-network dentists. Why would a dentist enter into a contract to often lower their fees to 50-80% of their normal ones. How many of you would like to take a 20-50% reduction in your salary or hourly pay? Please, raise your hand if you are willing to accept a 20-50% reduction in your pay. I don’t see any hands from here. Certain “preferred” providers are willing to accept the reduction of fees in exchange for the marketing of their practice to employees who are covered by the associated managed dental care plans. That is why. For some reason, these listed dentists are having a difficult time filling their schedules. They are having such a difficult time filling their scheduled that they are perhaps willing to accept a 20-50% reduction in their fees.
Now, what does this mean for patients in managed dental care plans? Yes, patients will save money per procedure. But in the long run, will they save money? This is questionable. What are these listed dentists doing in their practice to make up for the reduction in fees? Depending on the character and professionalism of the dentist, this can vary. Are the dentists reducing their cost of doing business in a way which contributes to lower quality? Are the dentists reducing their time per patient so they can squeeze more procedures in daily? Are the dentists working on more than one patient at a time to enhance their production per hour? Is this reduction in fees really helping patients? Are your one set of adult teeth worth the risk of going with a managed dental care plan?
You can see that managed dental care plans present many concerns, they pressure the listed dentists’ ethical standards, and they create more of a need to cut expenses and to cut time per patient. Is this a good thing for patients?
For my practice, we have opted not to have anything to do with managed dental care. We are patient-centered. We want what is best for patients. We offer superb personal service, quality care at a value, and we strive to save patients money in the long run. If you appreciate our philosophy of care, we invite you to give us a call at (972) 250-2580, so you may experience what you may be missing.