- How are appointments scheduled?
- Do I stay with my child during the visit?
- What about finances?
- Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance
How are Appointments Scheduled?
The office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children should be seen in the morning because they are fresher and we can work more slowly with them for their comfort. School children with a lot of work to be done should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued.
Since appointed times are reserved exclusively for each patient we ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep your appointment. Another patient, who needs our care, could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things can happen, but we ask for your assistance in this regard.
Do I stay with my child during the visit?
You Can Trust Us with Your Children
We ask that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children.
What about Finances?
Upon completion of the examination, a recommended treatment plan and an itemized outline of costs will be presented to you prior to beginning any treatment. If you have dental insurance we will provide an estimate of your insurance benefits. Every effort will be made to be as accurate as possible, however, these are estimates and your exact benefits are determined by each individual insurance policy benefit package.
We will assist in filing your insurance claims within 24 hours of providing services. If assignments of benefits are assigned to you and not our office, payment for all service provided are payable at the time of the appointment. In this case your insurance company will reimburse directly to you for your benefits due. Your insurance benefits are a contract between you and your employer. The amount you will receive will depend on the quality of the plan purchased by your employer.
Payment is due at the time services are provided. unless other financial arrangements are made prior to beginning treatment. We accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card, and American Express.
Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance
If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. You must be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law, your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance electronically, so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of the treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid for it or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days, a re-billing fee of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until the outstanding balance is paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims, or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment. We do not guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We are not be responsible for any errors in filing your insurance. Once again, we file claims as a courtesy to you.
Fact 1 - NO INSURANCE PAYS 100% OF ALL PROCEDURES
Dental insurance is meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90-100% of all dental fees - this is not true. Most plans only pay between 50-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has paid for coverage, or the type of contract your employer has set up with your insurance company.
Fact 2 - BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
Sometimes your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist's actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist's fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee ("UCR") used by the company.
A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable, or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider reasonable. These reasonable fees may vary, because each company collects fee information from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently, this data can be three to five years old and these fees are set by the insurance company so they can net a 20-30% profit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies imply that your dentist is overcharging, rather than say that they are underpaying, or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact 3 - DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume a service fee is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First, a deductible averages $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for this particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00, or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee they will pay an estimated $80.00 leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00, or your plan pays only at 50%, then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please keep us informed of any insurance changes such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment.