Every effort is made to keep down the cost of dental care by individualizing your treatment needs. We expect payment at time of service unless prior arrangements have been made through our financial office. Statements are rendered on the 25th of the month with full payments due before the next billing period. A finance charge of 1.5% per month will be applied to all unpaid balances. We accept the following forms of payment:
• Payment at the time of service by cash, check, VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American Express
• Monthly billed accounts payable in full upon receipt
• Other payment plans arranged through our financial office
We offer a 5% cash discount for pre insurance payment in full at time of service for amounts of $250 and over.
As a courtesy to our patients, we will complete and file all insurance forms relative to dental services rendered except for HMO/DMO or Medicaid policies. However, unlike medical insurance, dental insurance does not usually cover 100% of the charges incurred. We will be happy to provide a complimentary estimate of benefits prior to treatment by contacting your insurance company to determine your benefits. Please note that you need to provide us with the most current insurance information for each family member before forms can be submitted. This sounds simple but it is not.
- Insurance is complicated
- It is different for every patient
- Policies and coverage change frequently
During the course of treatment you will receive statements on a monthly basis regardless of your insurance coverage. Patients will be expected to begin payment on the projected balance at the time treatment begins.
Variables in insurance coverage
Many of our patients have dental insurance. Dental benefits can vary widely from company to company and from policy to policy within the same company. While some policies provide full coverage of the treatment we provide, other policies provide very little. Some policies provide full or almost full coverage for some treatment, and very little or no coverage for other treatment on the same patient. There are many variables , but some of the most common are:
- "in network" or "out of network"
- "basic coverage"
- "participating" or "non participating"
What does "in" and "out of" network mean?
For some insurance companies it does not make a difference if our office is "in" or "out of" network, but for other companies going "out of network" does make a difference. The difference is the "allowable fee" of the insurance company. The "allowable fee" refers to the amount your policy pays for a specific treatment.
Your insurance company or your employer may say you have 100% coverage for preventative care: That means 100% of the insurance company's "allowable fee." The "allowable fee" is the limit your policy will pay. Sometimes the "allowable fee" is more than our fee, and sometimes it is less.
For example: If our fee for a procedure is $100, and the "allowable fee" of your policy is $120, the insurance company will pay $100 and the patient does not owe any co-pay. However if our fee for a procedure is $100 and the "allowable fee" of your policy is $85, the insurance will pay $85 and the patient will have a co-pay of $15 due to us.
What does "basic coverage" mean?
Some policies have "basic coverage" others do not. "Basic coverage" provides minimum insurance coverage. Restorative treatment, such as "fillings," are addressed in "basic coverage." For many insurance companies "basic coverage" for a filling only allows the fee for an amalgam filling (also known as a Mercury or Silver fillings)or a less priced material regardless of the material type used to restore the tooth. Basic coverage policies will only pay on the least expensive materials not necessarily the best materials to restore your teeth to proper function. At our office we feel strongly that the materials we use on our patients have to be of the highest and longest lasting quality therefore we do not offer amalgam "Mercury" based fillings to restore teeth. We use composite resins or porcelain to restore teeth because of the compatibility, longevity, and esthetic quality of these materials. All of our recommendations are based on what we feel is the best material to restore the tooth or teeth to proper form and function and not based on what the insurance company pays for.
What does "participating" or "non-participating" mean?
If a dental office participates with an insurance company, the office accepts the insurance payment as full payment for treatment. If a dental office does "not participate" the office accepts the insurance payment as partial payment, and the patient is responsible for the remainder of the fee.
Why doesn't our office participate with my insurance company or accept HMO/DMO policies?
We have found that being bound by the provisions or limitations of insurance contracts can impact the quality of care our patients receive. The benefits allowed by an insurance company are determine by what the employer purchases as coverage for its employees. Unlike medical insurance, there are no laws that mandate adequate dental care. When insurance companies discount fees to the extent that many do, it adversely affects the quality of materials, the labs we can use, the amount and quality of the education we receive annually, as well as the ability to purchase and update our equipment to continue giving our patients the very best service and results that dentistry has to offer. We feel that our patients overall health is much more important than to allow the insurance company to dictate their treatment choices based on cheapness not quality.
Please remember that your policy is with your employer and your insurance company. Our office has no control over your benefits. We will however make every effort to get the maximum coverage your individual policy allows for service. We will also work with you to tailor a treatment option that both fits your time and finances. But in the end our recommended treatment will always be based on our professional expertise, and never on insurance coverage.
We hope this clarifies our office policy regarding dental insurance. If you have additional questions please feel free to call our financial coordinator. She will be happy to help you.