Dental Insurance and Obama Care: Who’s Right?

Dental Insurance and Obama CareThe National Journal is reporting that the National Association of Dental Plans is spending more than $1 million on a campaign to change a provision in the health care law that they feel will require some people to buy duplicate dental insurance coverage.

Let me repeat…The dental benefits trade organization is spending $1,000,0000 to hire a lobbying firm to convince the Obama administration to fix the provision by the end of 2011.

Is this a good thing? Click here for a 92-page white paper “Road Map” with Delta Dental as a co-sponsor.

The NADP is concerned that, starting in 2014, the almost 44 million people who receive pediatric dental coverage through small business employers will also have to buy coverage through the new health insurance exchanges. It is asking regulators to clarify that their existing coverage meets the law’s requirements.

“Truthfully, this is the No. 1 issue for our industry,” said NADP executive director Evelyn Ireland. “It is the most crucial thing for us to get done.”

NADP wants to ensure that people will be allowed to keep their existing dental insurance coverage under the new health care, a promise President Obama repeatedly made during the heath insurance reform debate.

For a multitude of reasons I have never been a big fan of Delta Dental. However, after reviewing the 92-page white paper I think there may be some merit to this $1,000,000 argument.

Before, I make up my mind, I would like some pro or con feedback from our readers.

Please post your comments below.

Dental Marketing: 69% of Dentists Do Not Target Dental Insurance Patients

69% of Dentists Do Not Target Dental Insurance PatientsA Center for Disease Control and Prevention report found a primary indicator of access to dental care in the United States is dental insurance. Previous studies have shown that persons with private dental insurance have more dental visits in the previous year than persons without private dental insurance.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they actively target new insurance patients as part of their dental marketing.

69% of the dentists who responded do not target new dental insurance patients, while 31% do target them.

Location was not a factor in this survey.

Here’s what the dentists had to say about targeting dental insurance patients

“How do you target new insurance patients?” (North Carolina dentist)

“We choose to remain fee-for-service even in this economy.” (New York dentist)

“We belong to few networks. We do advertise that we take and file most insurance coverage. It makes no difference in our treatment plans.” (Texas dentist)

“We did not participate in any dental insurance plans until very recently, but had too many patients calling to say that, although they didn’t want to leave the practice, they were forced to, as they couldn’t afford to pay the difference for “out of network” any longer. In Illinois, thanks in part to higher taxes on individuals and much higher taxes on businesses, the economy is as bad (or worse) than ever. Even the CHICAGO Mercantile Exchange is talking about leaving Illinois!” (Illinois dentist)

“Yes. If they are in a difficult contracted insurance benefit company and are a business owner or an executive who can make decisions on plans, we encourage them to look at other plans that are less expensive for the employer, better benefits for the patient and better reimbursement for the provider. If they are employees, we strongly encourage them to discuss changing to another plan that benefits the employee, the employer and the Dr. There are many benefits that work so much better. Why should an employer and employee contribute their monies to a insurance benefit that is primarily interested in taking money out of the middle rather than benefit the employer and the employees?” (Minnesota dentist)

Dental Insurance Determines Who Will See a Dentist

Dental Insurance Determines Who Will See a DentistDental insurance status is a major determinant of who will seek dental treatment, according to a Facts and Findings report by Rutgers’ Center for State Health Policy.

The report complied data from the CSHP’s 2001 and 2009 New Jersey Family Health surveys on children ages 3 to 18 who received no dental services within a year.

The study found that children with employer-sponsored or privately purchased dental insurance were much more likely to receive dental care than children without dental insurance or even those covered by publicly insured programs like by Medicaid/NJ Family Care.

According to Rudgers University news, the report also pointed to well-care doctor visits as an important indicator of the likelihood of a child receiving dental care, possibly because of efforts to increase dental referrals in managed care plans and the expansion of dental care in federally qualified health centers.

“The odds were three times as great for children who did not have a well-child doctor visit in the past year to not receive dental care as those who visited a doctor,” said José Nova, research project coordinator and lead author of the study. He noted that care for under-served children could be improved with expanded health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Reuters estimates that 45 million Americans do not have dental insurance.

To read more on this report see: Rutgers Study: When it Comes to Use of Dental Services, not all New Jersey Youngsters are Equal

Dental Practice Management and the Affordable Care Act (Survey Video)

Dental practice management and the Affordable Care Act

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they think the Affordable Care Act will help their dental practices.

Most doctors would prefer the government stay out of their dental practice management

Only 9% of the our dentist respodents are optimistic that the Act will help the dental profession;  72% of the dentists surveyed fear their dental practice will be hurt by the new law.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dentists thoughts about the Affordable Care Act:

“If you don’t think we are paying for the uninsured now you have your head in the sand. Obama stated that dental benefits would be included in the health care act, and I think it will increase utilization. More demand, less supply… you figure it out.” California dentist

“People will be tuned in even more to the idea that everything should be paid for by insurance. On the other hand, the current system is broken and crazy. I hope we aren’t just trading it for more broken, crazy, and unaffordable.” Washington Dentist Anesthesiologist

“”I believe that the increased tax burden on all Americans that directly results from this Act will significantly reduce discretionary dollars for virtually everyone, and will eventually lead to a single payer system that will be even less efficient and more wasteful than the current system,” said an Illinois dentist.

How do you think the Affordable Care Act will affect your dental practice?

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance Payments

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance PaymentsDental office embezzlement is still alive and well in California.

Deborah Lynn Kessler, 45, pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft over charges that she embezzled more than $100,000 in dental insurance payments at the dental practice where where was manager.

The Orange County Register reports that Kessler signed dental insurance payments over to her personal bank accounts over the course of about three years. Investigators initially said she may have used the money to pay for an RV, boats and trips, and to cover her personal bills.

She was sentenced to two years in jail, plus an additional two more years of community supervision.

According to a 2010 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report almost one-fourth of all embezzlement cases report losses of at least $1 million with smaller businesses being the most susceptible to fraud.

The average embezzlement scheme lasts for 18 months before detection.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee embezzlement costs American companies $20 billion to $40 billion a year. A long-term employee is 15 times more likely than a stranger to steal from a company.

Some of the best ways to prevent dental office embezzlement is by implementing a segregation of duties, keeping petty cash to a minimum and requiring dual signatures on checks.

Has your dental practice ever been the victim of employee embezzlement? What happened, and how did you handle it?

For more on the Orange County Register story see: Dental worker guilty of stealing more than $100,000

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