We believe that preventive and restorative dentistry are important to the long-term health and well being of the individual. We understand that financial considerations may impact decisions related to your dental care. In discussing treatment options, we realize that finances are a variable that only you can weigh and factor into your decision making. We offer the following payment options for our patients:
VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Cash, and Checks
We will gladly generate insurance claim forms and file them on your behalf. The vast majority are now filed electronically, but there are still some that insist on being sent by mail. We will accept payments directly from the insurance company and, if there is a secondary carrier, we will generate a new claim form and file that along with an explanation of benefits (EOB) from the primary carrier. We do these things as a service to you. We expect our patients to do the following:
- provide us with all necessary information such as the group #, the insured’s I.D.#, the insured’s social security number, the address for claims submission and information on your coverage BEFORE you have any treatment. Until we have all the necessary information, you will be asked to pay for all treatment provided at that visit. If we have the information to file the claim, you will be asked to pay what we believe will not be covered such as your deductible and co-charges. When we receive the insurance payment, if a balance remains, we will bill you. If the insurance payment is more than expected resulting in a credit, we will send you a check.
- if the primary carrier sends the payment and EOB to you, then please bring it to us immediately (not at your next visit six weeks later) so that we can generate the claim form and file it with the secondary carrier.
- if the patient is a college student, the insurance carrier may require verification of their full-time student status from the school and need it updated at each subsequent semester.
- if your employment or insurance coverage should change, please make us aware of it so we do not file the claim with your former carrier. An easy way to do this is to go to Contact Us > Patient Forms > Personal Information Update and send us the changes. If we have questions, we will get back to you.
- for your own best interest financially, remember that unlike most medical plans, dental insurance usually has an annual cap on the amount you can be paid. The plan has a benefit per year (usually a Jan-Dec calendar year, but can vary as for many school districts it may go Sept-Aug). So, think about when you will come in for a checkup or to evaluate a problem. If you come in one month before the end of your benefit year, it leaves little time to address your needs before losing that year’s remaining benefit and starting to tap into the following year’s benefit.
Many dental offices offer credit plans through third parties with reduced interest rates to help patients pay for dental care. We have chosen not to participate with these plans for a number of reasons which include:
- generally, the plans are set up for the patient to take a loan for up to $25,000 with no interest, if it is very short term (i.e-3 months) or interest rates comparable to credit cards for anywhere from 12-60 months. The dentist gets paid for all of your planned treatment, minus a very sizable fee, when you sign the agreement.
Things we do not care for include:
- both parties are locked in with no easy way out. The patient may have a change in personal circumstances and want to stop or delay or slow down treatment, but they can not – they will still get the same monthly bill based on the original agreement. On the dentist’s side, the patient may suddenly become irresponsible- not keeping appointments, showing up late, yet the dentist is still obligated to continue to treat the patient.
- like most credit companies, if you are late with payments or miss a payment, there are penalties and higher interest rates. Will the patient blame the credit company? It’s doubtful. More than likely they would be criticizing the dentist who got them to sign the note in the first place.
- treatment can change. We plan, but sometimes we do not foresee the need for a root canal. Suddenly, the patient has a $1000 bill for a root canal which the dentist expects them to pay now, but they are also still paying the monthly note. So, again the patient feels abused.
- in the end, even though we are not the source of the borrowed funds, being involved in lending money is not something we want to do. We do not aspire to be a bank nor an agent soliciting clients for one. You would probably be a lot better off going to a bank or credit union yourself. If nothing else, you would have greater control over the funds and how and when they are used.
We do our best to provide our patients with the best – we hire exceptional people to work with you, we stay up-to-date with materials and techniques, we utilize high quality laboratories and their talented technicians, we strive to keep our working environment safe for our patients and we feel justified in charging a reasonable fee for all of those things.
In return, we expect you to honor your commitment to us. You will pay in a prompt manner as treatment is performed. Like everything in life, the unexpected can happen. You start some extensive treatment and your parent suddenly becomes ill and expenses for you skyrocket. What we expect is this – we expect you to talk to us, to tell us how things are going, how you now plan to be paying your bill with us and keep us up-to-date. We do not want to send bills every two weeks and hear nothing from you. We do not want to threaten you with collection agencies or legal measures. Just be honest with us and TRY as best as you can to pay your bill. Then, we’ll be fine.
It happens more than we can tell you, but some patients will spend a great deal of time talking about the very expensive wedding reception they had for their daughter, the trip they just returned from in Australia, the thoughtful diamond earrings they just received for their anniversary and then, after sitting in the chair for hours and being told they owe hundreds of dollars, they do not miss a beat and calmly state that they have forgotten to bring their checkbook, that they have no credit cards or cash with them and that they will send a payment when they have time!
PLEASE…Do not be one of those people. It’s not fair. It’s not considerate. But, if that sounds perfectly fine and understandable to you, do us both a favor and find another dental office to help you maintain your dental health.