Organizing Against Dental Insurance


Dentists and Dental Insurance Battle It Out

Dentists are frustrated with the current system of dental insurance, feeling that it benefits the insurance companies more than dental patients or doctors.

May 18, 2008 (San Francisco, California) Dentists have had enough of dental insurance companies. In a recently released survey by dental practice marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist, fully 94% of dentist respondents said that they would like to see dentists organize against the insurance industry.

Low benefits and payouts are dentists' largest frustration. "When I entered private practice in 1970, dental benefits had a maximum payout of $1000. Now twenty-eight years later, it's still $1000," complained a Mississippi dentist. "The premiums for dental coverage have continued to go up, but not the maximum benefit payout. There is something badly wrong with this discrepancy." "The customary benefit of $1,000.00 is laughable. That worked in 1960, but not in 2008,”
agreed a Massachusetts dentist.

Dental patients are often confused by the fact that, unlike health insurance, dental insurance is not true insurance at all.  Unaware of this, many patients needing significant amounts of dentistry are shocked to discover that their dental plans will pay only a small portion of their expenses.

Many dentists desire more public education about dental coverage. "All too often, it is the dentist and team that give the patient the bad news about lack of coverage," complained a Colorado dentist. "The dental office is made out to be the bad guy instead of the insurance carrier. I'd like to see an effort made by organized dentistry to educate the public."

Some dentists think that joining a dental insurance plan is not always in a patient's best interest. “Dental insurance is a misleading concept for the patient," said a Florida dentist. "I advise patients not to obtain dental insurance if they will practice preventive dentistry."

Dentists bristle at the thought of insurance companies deciding which treatments are acceptable. “It's horrible! You can't do dentistry without insurance companies regulating patients acceptance and treatment,” moaned an Iowa dentist.

Some dental professionals are disappointed that the ADA has not taken a more proactive stance on the topic of insurance benefits. “The ADA does not fight for us, and that is why I do not belong to the organization," said a California dentist. "I would have chosen another profession had I known the dental insurances were going to dictate so much of my profession."

Dentists are sometimes offended by the actions of the insurance industry. "Insurance companies have actually called my patients telling them to go elsewhere!” exclaimed a New Jersey dentist. “Some insurance companies are fine, but others blatantly withhold payments and deny claims that should be covered,” said a California dentist.

Dentists wonder what the profession can do to do battle with the dental insurance industry. "I think dentists across the country should drop being a preferred dentist for all insurances," suggested a  Georgia dental office worker. "Then we’d see a change in the chokehold insurance companies have on the health industry."

Not everyone is convinced organizing will fix anything. “I don't feel any need to fight with insurance companies," said an Oregon dentist. "The financial battle is between the patient and the insurance company if the patient chooses to take up that battle. It’s not my battle."

To many, it seems that insurance benefits only the insurance companies. "They are a profit-generating entity that does not put the interest of the patient above profits,” wrote a Maryland dentist. “Thieves of the trade! They do not care for patients, only their bottom line. I wish we could get rid of them all together,” agreed a Florida dentist.

"Insurance used to be a valuable source of new patient referrals for dental practices," said Jim Du Molin, dental patient marketing guru and founder of dental management resource The Wealthy Dentist. "But nowadays, I hear very few positive comments, and an awful lot of complaints."


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Jim Du Molin

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