The mere mention of dental insurance discount plans tends to elicit an immediate frown of dislike from many dentists. The sentiment which quickly comes to mind is “Why are we giving these patients a discount if insurance isn’t paying for anything?”
So, let’s dig into this topic, and surface the facts… the Good, the Bad and if warranted… yes, the Ugly!!
Benefits to the Insurance Company
This one is easy. Many large insurance companies offer discount plans as a low-cost alternative to traditional PPO insurance plans. They are usually the least expensive form of dental benefit a patient can purchase as they come with no benefits, just the access to the discounted fees.
Discount plans are not true insurance as there are no claims or reimbursements made. The patient simply pays a monthly premium to the insurance carrier to get access to the network discounts available from a traditional indemnity plan. Then the patient pays 100% of the network discounted fee directly to the dentist for services rendered.
The insurance carrier gets the monthly premiums up front, and that’s that. Great for the insurance company! But what about the patient or dentist?
Benefits to the Patient
As the least expensive form of insurance, discount plans provide a simple benefit to patients with a lower income level. Premiums are often a fraction of those of traditional insurance, so these are great ways to get access to the discounted fee schedule.
Benefits to the Dental Office
Granted, you can clearly see what the insurance company and the patients get out of the discount plan, but what about benefits to your dental office. Are there any? You may be surprised to find that the answer is usually “yes.”