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Employers are always trying to cut costs and this is very evident when it comes to your health care coverage. Your dentist is also concerned about controlling costs to his patients, but he is more concerned about your dental health. Unfortunately, many patients are losing their right to choose their own dentist. For many people, the traditional relationship between dentist and patient has been lost. They are forced to choose a dentist from a list because they participate in a particular plan. This new system is known as managed care.

Managed care forces you to see dentists who have agreed to accept lower fees in exchange for their services. Dental insurance providers are now dictating who patients will see and what type of care they will receive. Before enrolling in or changing your dental plan, please check with our office. If you are forced to choose your dentist from a limited list of dentists and we are not on such a list, there is probably a good reason. Donít hesitate to ask us why.

In a traditional dentist-patient relationship, you the patient choose a dentist based on reputation and need. You can then decide whether or not to stay with that dentist. In managed care, the patients have little to say. They are told which dentists they can see and are given a list of covered services. The overall concern is for the bottom line in a managed care system. The insurance company encourages the dentist to not perform costly procedures or to not refer patients to specialists, therefore reducing costs. This shifts the focus from the patientís well being to the bottom line.

In the past, it was the patient who evaluated the dentistís performance and rewarded him/her for excellent treatment by returning to the practice. In the world of managed care, a dentist is judged by a willingness to reduce fees.

If you are faced with a decision as to whether or not to enroll in a managed care program, think about whether or not you want to choose your own dentist.

Also, consider whether the plan covers crowns and bridges, braces, root canals, and oral surgery. Will your plan pay for the crown recommended by your dentist or will it only pay for the least expensive treatment as determined by the insurance company?

Your dental health is an important part of your overall well being. Treatment should be decided by you and your dentist, not by your dental coverage benefits.


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