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

Dental Practice Management & Dental Insurance (Video)

Dental practice management and dental insuranceDental insurance is such a mixed bag. It can make patients more likely to seek treatment. dental insurance can bring new patients into a practice, and it’s the core of many dental practices.

Unfortunately, it can also lead not just to headaches, but also to lost income. Dentists know the fault lies not with the patients, but with the dental plans and insurance companies.

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

This survey by The Wealthy Dentist asked doctors what percentage of their dental patients use dental insurance.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss the dental practice management issues surrounding accepting dental insurance:

Of dentists responding to this survey, two out of five said that at least 70% of their patients have dental coverage.

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

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

What percentage of your patients still carry dental insurance?

Dental Insurance: Good Source of New Patients? (Video)

Dental insurance and new patientsDental insurance is sometimes the bane of a dentist’s existence.

Except that dental plans can also be a significant source of new patients.

“Insurance brings in new patients, but at a cost,” said a Kentucky dentist. “The fee schedules are terrible. I currently consider the write-off as a marketing expense.”

“When we became a provider, we were able to keep some patients who might have gone elsewhere,” said a Texas dentist.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey chat about results from a survey asking dentists if dental insurance brings new patients into their practice:

If it doesn’t get them new patients,  why a dentist would be a part of a dental plan network?

It’s a bold choice when dentists refuse to accept offensively low payouts from insurance companies — but one that can increase a doctor’s profitability and peace of mind.

And 13% of dentists responding to this survey said that they don’t accept dental insurance in any form.

So, of those who do accept insurance, how many find it an effective dental marketing tool?

Four out of five report that insurance brings in new patients to their dental practice, while only one in five says it doesn’t.

If you’re in the “one in five” category, you really might want to re-examine your relationship with dental coverage.

“Most of our patients come from word of mouth referrals by other patients,” said a Tennessee dentist. “We’re not a part of any dental insurance plans, although we do file insurance for our patients that have it. The lack of dental insurance does not seem to deter many of my patients from seeking needed dental care.”

“With so many dentists on the PPO provider lists, it proves not to be a source of new patient generation like the insurance companies promise it to be,” complained a California dentist.

Insurance lets me give the patients what I want to do without concern for payment. I give a higher level of care than they would have otherwise,” said a New York dentist.

“Why do patients who do not have insurance want it so badly, yet patients who have insurance hate it so much?” asked a Florida dentist.

It’s so true! When it comes to dental coverage, the grass always seems to be greener on the other side.

I think it comes down to that fact that patients almost always expect dental insurance to be like health insurance. They rarely realize how low the benefits tend to be.

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