My husband is new to Medicare and it’s open enrollment.
We are receiving flyers almost daily trying to get us to sign on with different plans. Many of these plans offer dental coverage; however, I have made several calls and almost all dentists, including my own, do not accept these plans. Only the big corporation dentists seem to take Freedom and Humana, etc.
I really want to stay in an office where I see the same dentist at every visit and they get to know me and I get to know them.Why is it that private dentists do not sign on with these plans?
A: Thank you for your question. You are correct that many private dentists, unfortunately, do not accept many dental plans, especially the Medicare plans.
These plans offer limited coverage and are often used to make your Medicare policy more attractive. In order to get the dental benefit, you often have to pay quite a bit out of pocket to be able to use your coverage. In order for an office that takes these plans to be profitable, they have to see many more patients.
This sort of office meets their overhead through quantity and not quality. It is because of this that I have had many people write to me regarding feeling like a number rather than a person.
In addition, they have said that the hygienist and dental assistant often are the ones to let you know what is needed, and your one-on-one contact with the dentist seems limited.
Most people understand that this is all you can expect with this sort of coverage; however, there are people like you that want more out of their dentist-patient relationship. That is where private offices like mine come in.
By seeing the same dentist in a privately owned practice and forming a long-term relationship, your care is more customized.
The private dentist may also be available to you after hours and on the weekends in the event of a dental emergency. You will often see the same hygienist at every appointment at a private dental office, as well.
All of the above is what provides you with the best value and will keep your dental costs down over time. You often save money in the long run by using the private dentist rather than one who is on your dental plan.
Understanding what dental coverage is being offered is best done by reading the fine print. This can help in the decision-making process.
It’s always a good idea to check with the person who handles dental insurance at a dental office you are considering and ask them to explain the coverage to you. They can offer you answers and since they are not selling the policy, they can offer you a clear outline of exactly what your dental benefits may be.
Forming a good dentist-patient relationship with good communication is a must for a healthy, beautiful, well-functioning smile. So many things in life are stressful — your overall dental health should not be one of them. I hope what I have outlined here has helped you in some way.
Dr. Frank Vascimini is a dentist practicing in Homosassa. Send your questions to 4805 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446 or email them to him at questions@MasterpieceDentalStudio.com.