Dental Discount Wars – Dr. Pruitt DDS Opines

As a business, Delta Dental has no heart. How could it? Delta sells discounts.

Shy good ol’ boys who are accustomed to insulated 1950s businesses models are confounded by internet openness. That is why Delta Dental, a discount dentistry broker with no quality control, is running out of places on the internet to shop their defenseless products that were developed in a more protected environment.

What’s more, if Delta officials couldn’t buy friends, they’d have no friends at all. Remember Delta’s million dollar donations that were hyped in dozens of their recent press releases – including the ADA News’? It’s becoming clear to me that the donations are strategic distractions from much bigger transparency problems facing the insensitive Michigan company.

For example: Late last night, Laura Misjak, writing for LansingStateJournal.com posted “Okemos-based Delta Dental’s celebration picketed by recent retirees – Former employees say health benefits unfairly cut off.”

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110827/BUSINESS/108270311/Okemos-based-Delta-Dental-s-celebration-picketed-by-recent-retirees?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

“The retirees, all women, said Delta Dental unfairly cut off their coverage this spring, ’Some of us would not have even retired if we knew this would happen,’ said Jackie Lacey, who held a sign that said ‘No loyalty to retirees.’” Imagine that, sports fans.

So if secretive Delta Dental arguably cheats clients, dentists, and now even its own employees, doesn’t that mean the monster is no longer accountable to anyone in the nation, and actually a menace to society? American dental patients are fortunate that the Federal Trade Commission protects them from insurance deceit.

… Not so fast. An archaic, insurance-friendly law called the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act shields Delta Dental and other National Association of Dental Plan (NADP) members from federal anti-trust investigations. That’s right. Because of the 1945 M-F Law, not even the FTC can punish Delta’s officials for unfair business practices agreed to by NADP members. Without federal help, Delta Dental’s morally bankrupt business plan would have never survived marketplace competition this long.

Discount wars

Even before Delta’s betrayed employees staged their protest at the unveiling of Delta’s new newly finished $91 million expansion and renovation of the Delta Dental headquarters in Okemos, the company was already hurting. Recently, newcomer Brighter.com started advertising 60% discounts for their dentistry compared to Delta Dental’s newly uncompetitive 30% discounts. Watch for Delta veterans to respond by selling more discount and less quality, as well as cutting more employee benefits.

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

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