Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?

Dentists: Are You No Longer a Wealthy Dentist?Dentists’ incomes are dropping according to a report published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The ADA and data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel conducted a survey to analyze trends in real gross billings per dentist visit, rates of collection of gross dental patient billings, number of visits to a dentist, percentage of the population who visited a dentist, population to dentist ratio and average real practice expenses.

The survey results reflect a random sample of approximately 4000 to 7000 dentists in private practice.

The survey found that the downward income trend was driven primarily by a decrease in dental patients seeking dental care.

The decline in dental care use, although most notable during the economic downturn, appears to have started before the downturn began.

A smaller portion of the U.S. population is seeing a dental care annually, going from 40.6% in 2005 to 38.6% in 2009.

Marko Vujicic, PhD, an American Dental Association economist, told Medscape Medical News that another study confirmed that an increasing number of Americans say they can no longer afford the dental care they need. Many states cut Medicaid dental benefits at the same time that employers cut back on dental insurance benefits, which left more of the general population without dental insurance coverage.

Further ADA surveys have shown that the reason dental patients don’t go to the dentist more often is that it now costs too much (34%). More than half of consumers (51%) who have not been to the dentist in the past five years report that high costs are an important factor. About 26% of consumers had a previous bad experience with a dentist and one-quarter do not feel that it is necessary to go to the dentist until a problem occurs.

According to the ADA the average gross billings per owner dentist in 2009 was $727,630 for a general practitioner and $1,004,820 for a specialist.

Quality dental marketing seems to help buck the downward income trend by helping dentists acquire more new dental patients. Investing in the latest dental technology also helps add to the dental practice bottom line, according to dental accountant Bassim Michael.

What has your experience been this year? Has your dental practice income dropped?

For more on this story see: Dentists’ Incomes Dropping, Says ADA Survey

Dentists Ready To Organize Against Insurance Companies (video)

Dentists hate insurance: videoDentists’ frustration with dental insurance companies runs deep. In this survey, 94% of dentist respondents said that they would like to see dentists organize against the insurance industry.

“I am shocked that they are allowed to set fees based on zip codes,” said a New Jersey dentist. “It’s amazing what they are allowed to get away with.

“While fees for service continue to increase, the benefit allowance has stayed the same since the 1970s,” complained a California dentist. “We dentists come out looking like the bad guys… go figure.”

Read more – Organizing Against Dental Insurance: Dentist Survey Results

Why Dental Insurance Can Be Aggravating for Dentists (video)

Why Dental Insurance Can Be Aggravating for Dentists (video)Many dentists feel that dental insurance is the bane of their existence.

Dentists often say that dealing with dental insurance is one of the most complicated aspects of dental practice management.

In fact, most dental patients have little understanding of how their dental insurance coverage actually works.  The intricacies of dental insurance and the lack of sufficient instruction provided by some insurance companies make it almost impossible for some dental patients to properly understand their dental insurance benefits.

This creates a widening divide between patients’ expectations of their dentist’s fees and what their the actual dental insurance coverage provides.

As one prosthodontist complained in a The Wealthy Dentist Survey on dental insurance, “My patients demand that I accept insurance assignments. At first I refused, but I lost more than half of my dental patients to other practitioners accepting insurance.”

The Wealthy Dentist survey asked dentists if they see dental insurance as friend or foe.

Not all dentists who responded to the survey see dealing with dental insurance as all bad.

“Patients with dental insurance coverage are much more likely to agree to a treatment plan,” responded one dentist.

To hear what dentists had to say about dealing with dental insurance, Click on play to watch the following video —

What are your thoughts on dealing with dental insurance?

Dentist Believes Dental Insurance is Detrimental to Dental Patients

Dentist Believes Dental Insurance is Detrimental to Dental PatientsRecent statistics have stated that roughly one out of every two Americans lacks dental insurance coverage.

It has been proven that having dental insurance makes dental patients visit their dentist more often for treatment.

According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, patients who do not have dental insurance are approximately two-thirds less likely to have visited their dentist within the past year, compared with those who have dental insurance coverage.

But do these statistic tell the whole story on dental insurance?

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists what percentage of their dental patients still carry dental insurance.

One general dentist responded, “We will file for all our patients but are not in network with any insurance companies. I see about 50% of patients with insurance.”

The dentists reported the following percentages of patients with insurance —

  • 29% — 50 – 70% of patients have dental insurance
  • 26% — 70 – 90% of patients have dental insurance
  • 18% — Less than 50% of patients have dental insurance
  • 13% — 90 – 95% of patients have dental insurance
  • 08% — Don’t accept dental insurance
  • 06% — Answered “other”

How dentists feel about dental insurance is another matter and here’s what they told The Wealthy Dentist in their survey responses —

“I hate dental insurance!” (Alabama dentist)

“Taking dental insurance allowances is a recipe for financial failure. Just look at the numbers.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“Dental insurance? Bah humbug!” (Virginia oral surgeon)

“Dental insurance is detrimental to dental patients and practices.” (Texas dentist)

“Many of our patients know most dental insurances stink as far as reimbursement amounts and yearly maximums, yet 70% of them still carry dental insurance. It’s a huge factor around here.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“We don’t accept dental insurance as a form of payment, but we will fill out their forms so they can get paid. Some insurance companies will then send a payment to us and we have to reimburse the patient.” (Illinois dentist)

“Dental insurance: love it/hate it, but so it goes.” (General dentist)

“There is a definite reduction in companies who are willing to provide dental plans and a definite move by patients to either drop their coverage or to seek out a dentist in their network.” (Texas dentist)

“Dental insurance creates more problems than it solves.” (California” dentist)

“We are not a preferred provider for anyone, but accept any insurance that allows out of network dentists. We do charge the patient the difference between our fees and what the insurance pays.” (General dentist)

“Regardless of our profession’s exhortations regarding lifelong dental health, the fact is that many people would never visit a dentist if they didn’t have dental insurance. The idea of “free” services is their motivation. If they had to pay the full cost, they wouldn’t visit the dentist at all.” (California dentist)

The Wealthy Dentist agrees with the last statement by a California dentist. Patients who have some type of dental health plan are more likely to return regularly to your dental practice and accept treatment recommendations.

This results in your dental practice having more active cases and fewer inactive patients, thus increasing your practice bottom line over time, which makes you more profits in the long run.

Rollover Plans Aren’t Just for Cell Phones Anymore

Dental Insurance Picks Up the Rollover Trend

A recent dental insurance trend that’s becoming ever more popular, “maximum-limit rollover programs” let patients save unused dental benefits to use the following year. The plans are generally conditional on patients receiving regular preventative care. Not surprisingly, insurers limit the amount patients can roll over. However, the additional money can make dental implants or other complex care a more viable option for many patients.

This new strategy is aimed in part at promoting and rewarding patients who receive regular preventative dental care. It’s nice to see insurance companies realizing how spending more money on regular care will cost less in the long run.

Ameritas Life Insurance and Guardian Life Insurance began the tend a few years ago, and since then they’ve been joined by other major insurers such as UnitedHealth Group, Cigna and Starmount Life Insurance.

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