Federal Employees Could Be Getting Foreign Dental Work

Government Dental Plan Soliciting Bids from Offshore Labs

The US government employs several million individuals. As their employer, it’s the government’s job to provide health care coverage to all of these people: soldiers and politicians, maintenance workers and administrators.

Health care benefits for federal employees are managed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). There are seven insurance carriers that provide supplemental dental and vision benefits under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Four of these are nationwide plans, and the other three provide coverage in certain regions.

  • Aetna Life Insurance Company
  • Government Employees Health Association, Inc. (GEHA)
  • MetLife Inc.
  • United Concordia Companies, Inc.
  • Group Health, Inc. (New York state area)
  • CompBenefits (Southeastern US)
  • Triple-S, Inc. (Puerto Rico)

I have heard that one of these dental insurance companies has been soliciting bids from offshore dental laboratories. They’re looking to provide a low-cost product option to their network of providers, and it’s nearly impossible to compete with the prices offered by some foreign labs. ($29 dental crowns from China, anyone?)

There are any number of reasons why this might be cause for concern, but chief among them is the Buy American Act. Passed in 1933, this legislation states that the US government should preferentially purchase American products over foreign-made goods. Though exceptions can be made for price or quality issues, the basic principle is that America’s government should patronize American businesses whenever possible.

About GEHA

Since 2007, the Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) Connection Dental FederalSM dental plan has provided comprehensive dental benefits for federal employees. (GEHA also offers federal employees health plan options.) GEHA’s proprietary Connection Dental® network includes more than 43,000 dental provider locations across the country. GEHA has grown to be the second-largest national health insurance plan serving the federal market.

With reports surfacing that some dental crowns and bridges may be contaminated with lead, there are also health concerns about outsourcing dental restorations. The FDA doesn’t directly regulate overseas labs, and the National Association of Dental Labs warns that there are significant holes in the FDA’s oversight of dental lab manufacturing.

And yet we have GEHA shopping for cut-rate bids from foreign dental labs… Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

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About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

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