Honesty & Dental Insurance

Blunt honesty about dental insurance

If anyone should run into a United Concordia dental consultant, please tell the licensed dentist (?) that he or she can kiss my butt. Yea, you heard me right. I don’t care how unprofessional that sounds. I no longer even pretend to respect anonymous UC Bozos. They’ve never respected me or their clients.

It seems one of them recently proved to me and my patient that if left to UC’s level of ethics, they are likely to continue to harm vulnerable people to increase their commission and/or bonus, and cannot be held personally accountable… not yet. That is just wrong.

So why have we silently accepted this under-the-radar crap for this long, Doc?

Dentists, let’s talk bluntly. Let’s you and I risk nothing more than personal embarrassment to independently let our dental patients know how we honestly feel about their bosses’ lousy choices in dental benefits plans. Pick your adjectives carefully. You and I both know that our clueless and trusting dental patients continue to be harmed by the unfairness endemic in the notoriously unaccountable dental insurance market.

It’s a business built on deceit allowed in part by the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 (contact your Congressperson for repeal of insurers’ protection from the FTC). As healthcare professionals who otherwise put our patients’ interests first, if we stand by and do nothing to prevent monsters like United Concordia, Delta Dental and BCBSTX from harming our patients, we fail our Hippocratic Oath.

Our “professional” silence only helps sleazy insurers to sell more of their intentionally complicated plans to clueless employers. Each time dental consultants needlessly interfere in dentist/patient relationships by delaying and even denying payment – like some United Concordia Bozo unsuccessfully tried with one of my aggravated patients recently – it harms innocent people. And it’s starting to really piss me off to be second guessed for baseless reasons.

So don’t try that crap again, Bozo, because the next United Concordia client who you attempt to cheat might also follow my advice to seek legal help. Your clients and their attorneys like me better than you, UC.

Don’t forget the lesson you learned this week: “Never again mess with Darrell Pruitt DDS’s patients because it will never turn out well for your boss!” …. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. Insurers’ self-serving delay and denial of payment of their clients’ dental claims is something dentists (who accept reimbursement as a favor to the patient) have endured and quietly mumbled about for decades.

But since fee-for-service dentists have no contractual relationship with insurers, neither mumbling nor the ADA have been successful in preventing third-party interference in dental operatories. Few Americans realize that like tedious insurance paperwork, payment delays always increase dental costs without benefiting patients or their dentists.

It’s no secret that traditionally confusing dental insurance policies keep dental prices artificially high in the nation. A market correction is long overdue. It’s my hope that when it comes time to renew dental benefits, employers will consider straightforward, consumer-friendly direct reimbursement-type plans such like DentalDirect. http://dentaldirect.us/  (See also: “Is Dental Insurance Worth It? Or Is There A Better Way?”) http://blog.riskmanagers.us/?p=5684

 If the nation is serious about saving money in dental care, here is the first thing we do: We demand transparency and personal accountability from dental insurance companies. Then we step back and watch parasites scramble for cover.

How much of their non-productive crap are you going to mumble about, Doc, before you get pissed off enough to stand up and fight for your patients’ rights to be treated fairly and safely? When will we as guardians of dental patients’ interests individually demand accountability from intrusive anonymous Bozos? If you and I say nothing to stop preventable harm to our patients, who will?

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS