Why aren’t we “Preferred Providers”? This is a question my team and I get from time to time in our office from new patients. The term “preferred” makes one think that this is a select group who the insurance company has hand picked because they give either excellent value, quality or service, but in fact nothing can be further from the truth in some cases. Insurance companies started to use the term “preferred provider” in lieu of the older, but more accurate term “in-network” several years ago. This was part of an attempt to repackage their paltry and inadequate reimbursement product to consumers and dentists. The truth is, dental insurance is not insurance at all. Thats right, it isnt. If you pay insurance on your car, and you have to file a claim, then insurance company reimburses you for the fair market value of that car. You pay a set dollar amount each month which is pre-negotiated between your insurance company and you, and in return you get the peace of mind that should you get into an accident and need to replace your car, then insurance company will reimburse you for the value of that car at that time. Makes sense. Now lets take a look at dental “insurance”. You, or your employee, pay a monthly premium and in return your insurance gives you between $1000 and $1500 of coverage, what their call their maximum allowable benefit. Does that sound like you were “insured”?
Lets take that same example of car insurance; you crash and total your new Mercedes Benz, but your insurance company says “well, we thank you for the monthly premiums over the years, but we are only going to give you enough for a used Toyota and only from this particular dealer, and not if you had one 6 months ago.” This sounds ridiculous of course, but in the dental insurance field it happens every day. Now lets take a look at the maximum allowable benefit. Most patients are not aware that these reimbursements have been the same since the 1950s in most cases. Thats right, in 1950 the maximum allowable benefit for dental insurance was $1000, 65 years ago! Im sure that 65 years ago $1000 went quite a long way toward making sure you were healthy. At that time the average american was earning $2.14 per hour. Many large companies have already seen the writing on the wall and removed the dental insurance packages from their employee benefits, undoubtedly realizing it was a poor investment. Dental insurance is not insurance at all, it is a deception. After a look at this I think you will understand why our office “prefers not to participate”.