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Unread 05-11-2009, 07:09 AM
 
Location: SC
8,555 posts, read 7,566,972 times
Reputation: 2837
If you want to make payments and your dentist won't take them, start by making payments to yourself every week or month and put them in a savings account (or even a safe at home). Even a typical dental plan that might cover 2 cleanings 100% : basic expenses 80% and major expenses 50% and would typically only pay out a maximum of $1500 per year in benefits would cost an individual $35/ month or a family $85 per month or more. Then you have to add in the $50 deductible per person.

The insurance is alone is $420 a year for an individual out the window. If you use the two cleanings (which if you paid cash might have cost you $70 each or $140) and nothing else, you got a $140 value and paid $420. Which is the better way to go, paying cash or having insurance? Paying cash is the MUCH better way to go.

Let's figure you have insurance over time you go to the dentist and the first year you only use your
cleanings you got a

$140 in services for $420

The next year you have full x-rays ($500) and two cleanings ($140) or

$640 in services for $420 + $50 deductible + 20% of $450 or $90 = $560


The third year you cancel one cleaning and have just one cleaning for $70

You paid

$420 for $70 worth of services

The fourth year you need a crown that cost $1550 and you have your cleanings ($1690 worth of services. With your insurance you paid:

$420 + $50 deductible plus 50% of 1500 or $750 = $1220

The next year you again just have the cleanings

$140 worth of services for $420

Over the five years were you better off with insurance or paying cash?

Just paying for the actual services with cash you would have paid over the 5 years $2680 or $536 each year average.

With insurance these same services would have cost you $3040 or $360 more than if you had just paid cash.

So rather than paying more than you need to with insurance, form your own insurance company and put $50 aside each month in a savings account for dental expenses or a piggy bank or something. Then when you need to go to the dentist, you'll have the $ to pay cash. Also do as has been suggested and ask for a discount for cash. After all you are saving the dentist time filling out claim forms and waiting for payment from the insurance company.

I'm one of the few insurance agents who does not push dental insurance on my clients because for most people is a better deal to pay cash for dental services unless you are having major work done every year.

Another way to save money is to look for a Holistic Dentist who uses minimal x-rays so you are exposed to less radiation; understands the dangers of flouride treatments etc. With a holistic dentist you wont be paying any more than necessary for treatments that are dangerous or harmful to your health.

I avoided a whole series of "deep cleanings" by just discovering and using I.P.S.A.B tooth powder from the health food store, recommended by a naturopathic doctor I use. It has Iodine; Prickily Ash Bark; Salt and BAking Soda in it and it increases the circulation in your gums and makes them nice and strong and healthy. IN a matter of a few weeks after being told that I would need the deep cleanings, when I returned for the first one, the dentist admitted I didn't need them. My gums had stopped bleeding.

I found out that regular toothpaste has sugar of all things and is bad for your teeth (or if not sugar has Nutrasweet which is even WORSE for your health) --and fluoride so I never use it. Fluoride Action Network
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Unread 06-26-2009, 09:54 PM
 
39,265 posts, read 38,683,801 times
Reputation: 11416
My dentist in fact does have payment plans but of course you pay some interest but its not really too high.My dentist office assistant told me that AARP dental plans are pretty cheap and pay well upto the limit on the policy. As I rememebr they have one that pays upto a $1000 a year with dedcutables and that should take care of most problems if the person sees the dentist regularly.If your not 50 ;I really don't know.Going regularly keeps those bills down in most cases.
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Unread 08-09-2009, 10:18 PM
 
Location: in my mind
2,746 posts, read 8,990,815 times
Reputation: 1482
Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
My dentist in fact does have payment plans but of course you pay some interest but its not really too high.My dentist office assistant told me that AARP dental plans are pretty cheap and pay well upto the limit on the policy. As I rememebr they have one that pays upto a $1000 a year with dedcutables and that should take care of most problems if the person sees the dentist regularly.If your not 50 ;I really don't know.Going regularly keeps those bills down in most cases.
You're not, by chance, in San Antonio are you?

I really really need to find a dentist who will work with me. Figured I'd ask.
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Unread 08-18-2009, 09:56 AM
 
1 posts, read 5,952 times
Reputation: 15
Dentists run no more risk of a customer defaulting (in this case a patient, let's not forget) than any other profession offering a service. Until dentists admit that the oral cavity is directly connected to our overall health and that there is more than than just having shiny white teeth, they will continue with this unfair and self interested practice of demanding immediate payment and not allowing partial payments. Many don't accept insurance at all out of greed. [Mod Cut] Don't personally attack other posters. [/Mod Cut] Dentists hide behind them because it would appear unprofessional for them to ask a patient directly for immediate payment. I last owed $200.00 to my dentist. Before the procedure his office employees (2 of them) agreed to accept monthly payments, "as long as they were consistent", but recanted on the offer after treatment was completed. One of the employees said to me "doctor (so and so) told me that he wanted the full amount collected today." They are collection agency bullys with smiling faces but and a deceivingly polite demeanor with a bull dog attitude bubbling underneath. Don't kid yourself.

Last edited by LadyRobyn; 08-18-2009 at 11:02 AM.. Reason: Removed personal attack
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Unread 10-01-2009, 09:28 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,801 times
Reputation: 15
Default What does your dentist drives?

I'm in the field. One dentist drives a BLACK PORSCH, THE SECOND DENTIST DRIVES A JAG, THE THIRD DRIVES A LEXUS (ONE FOR HIM , ONE FOR HIS WIFE) THEIR SON DRIVES 328I COUPE. We are push to sell , sell, sell. Invisilign,arestins,CHX rinse,irrigation,etc. I saw one dentist taking xray of one patient with a sensor and didn't even bother to cleaned it before sticking the very same sensor into another patient's mouth!! Infection control out the window. Better yet, what infection control. What is that first patient has herpes.
For god sakes, rinse that with water or something. Scary, very scary.
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Unread 10-01-2009, 10:25 PM
 
Location: NW. MO.
1,817 posts, read 3,241,787 times
Reputation: 1280
I always wondered. My dentist does take payments. I do have insurance but the dental work is high. So I see the insurance pay out and its usually whatever amount that evidently the Dentist is contracted for but when I get my bill I have to pay for the amount the insurance didn't cover. For example if the ins pays 80% I get charged the outstanding 20% and I know that doesn't happen on the medical end of the insurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
One other thing: We would often give a "cash discount" to those patients who paid with cash/check who had no insurance. We did not offer it to them, but if they asked, we'd take 10% off. You could try asking if there is a discount available. The reason we did this is because when a dentist is contracted with an insurance company, they take a lower amount for each procedure for all patients affiliated with that company. So, for example, when a dentist might get $1200 for a root canal on a molar from uninsured patients, they may only get a total (insurance payment plus patient copay) of $850 from patients with XYZ insurance, IF they are in the network. If you know that your dentist participates in insurance networks (stickers on their front desk saying "we accept Cigna" or "We participate with Anthem BCBS" are a good clue!), you may try asking the dentist about it. Dentists who do not belong to any insurance networks are less likely to agree to a discount.

Good luck!
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Unread 02-01-2012, 08:17 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,296 times
Reputation: 20
These posts are interesting. It sounds like most of you aren't familiar with how dental insurance works - it is completely different than medical insurance. Your medical coverage is pretty much structured to cover all expenses and you pay a copay (ie $20 or $30) at each visit, whether your doctor performs a procedure or just talks to you for 5 minutes. Dental insurance is not meant to cover all of your dentistry, it is simply meant to provide benefits to make it more affordable. When a dentist contracts to participate with an insurance company (meaning he is a "participating provider") he offers his services at a reduced, contracted rate and you and the insurance company are both responsible for a portion of this contracted rate. Some dentist don't participate because the contracted fees for his area are so low that by the time he pays his staff and other misc overhead, there is nothing leftover. Most of the dentist I know do not allow patients to make payments for treatment because the patients asking for these arrangements do not always follow thru. Don't blame the dentist, blame the growing number of people who think it is acceptable to skip out on their bills. If you can not afford treatment, use a credit card to extend your payments, or sign up for Care Credit. If you do not have a credit card or don't qualify for Care Credit, it is usually because you are a poor credit risk. Why should he enter into an arrangement with you? It's your teeth, either take care of them or set aside some money each month so that when something comes up you can pay for it. If money is so tight that you can't set something aside, why should anyone trust that now that you need work you will be able to make monthly payments.
On a side note, I don't get the poster above who felt it necessary to talk about type of car her employer/dentist drives. He no doubt paid a fortune for college and dental school, and spent many late nights studying. He took a huge financial risk starting his own practice, which is very costly to operate. So what if he drives a Porsche? I'd rather have a successful dentist who drives a nice car doing my root canal than some guy who drives an old beat up car and has trouble paying his staff and monthly bills. Don't be so quick to make someone a villian because they offer a service that you can't afford to pay for.
And no, I'm not a dentist, I just work for one. If you think the your dentist charges too much for what he does or is "greedy" then I suggest you learn how to fill your own teeth.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 09:52 AM
 
149 posts, read 217,420 times
Reputation: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
I plan on cancelling a dentist appointment today. In a few weeks I'm scheduled for having a crown and a few fillings replaced. It's not an emergency, but just trying to avoid problems down the road.
I do not, and never have had dental insurance, and this $1600. procedure is coming at about the same time as my property tax bill.
Bottom line, if dentists offered billing to spread out the payments I would not be cancelling.
I don't understand how they all succeed without doing it. Surely, dentists must be feeling the pinch in today's economy like everybody else.
Some dentist offices have billion options (mine does). Most resident clinics do as well. If that's an option for you, try them.

Dentists don't do it because they don't have to do it. Society (I hate saying "the free market") doesn't demand it of them and nor does their professional organization.

Take, for example, insurance. Would you want to deal with insurance if you didn't have to? Huge overhead (including a $50k salary for your billing manager), endless red tape and hundreds of plans with literally unlimited provisions that constantly change.

Having billing options increases risk, time and money to have said option. Need a lawyer for the contracts, need to hire a firm that collects from unpaid accounts, need to hire somebody to deal with pts not being able to pay (before it gets farmed out to a collection agency) and questions about changing the pay date, etc, etc.

If you can get by without it, why do it?



Go check out a derms or plastics practice in an expensive town and you'll find they are self-pay at the time of service too.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 09:56 AM
 
149 posts, read 217,420 times
Reputation: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by KK12 View Post
If you think the your dentist charges too much for what he does or is "greedy" then I suggest you learn how to fill your own teeth.
If the organizations that ran professional schools and the practices of its members (e.g. medical, dental, vet) allowed for programs like these, it would happen.

And if they allowed for foreigners to enter the job market here, health care would become much more affordable.
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Unread 03-01-2012, 09:49 PM
 
299 posts, read 306,921 times
Reputation: 292
Perhaps if a few dozen dentists got together and formed a practice, they could share the overhead. Then their fees wouldn't be so expensive. Doctors and dentists complain they don't get enough money. Well, group together.
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