The dirty little secret of insurance is that you will likely pay more for it than you will get benefits out of it. In fact, a study by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed that the average American adult pays 16% more for dental care if they have insurance than it would cost if they just paid for care. This is how insurance works–that 16% (and more) is the insurance company’s profit.
While we know that many people look hard to find a Northern Virginia dentist that takes their insurance, the truth is that it might be smarter to spend your energy looking for a quality dentist who gives you the treatment you want.
The Difference between In-Network and Out-of-Network Dentists
We’re not insurance advisors and we can’t tell you how best to utilize your insurance benefits. However, we can speak to our experience and the experience of our patients with their insurance companies and with our office. We have many patients who choose to work with us even though we’re not in the network for their insurance. That’s because they appreciate the quality of services we provide. We have expertise, utilize technology, and offer services that people just can’t find when they work with in-network dentists.
When dentists decide to become in-network, they make agreements with the insurance company about how much they can charge for certain services. That can lead to compromises about the quality of care offered, including concrete decisions about how much time a dentist can spend with you and what materials they can use for fillings, crowns, and other treatments.
You Still Have to Pay Out-of-Pocket
People often believe that their insurance will pay for procedures, but this is rarely the case. The only dental service that’s normally covered 100% is professional cleanings. For any other care–including x-rays, fillings, and gum disease treatment–you pay some out of pocket, and often a substantial amount.
This can create an incentive where the cleaning is considered a “loss leader,” something that brings people into the practice, but loses money for the dentist. The dentist tries to make that money up by offering you additional services you don’t really need. It seems more honest to us to simply charge what each service is worth, so the only incentive for recommending additional care is to ensure our patients are properly cared for.
Don’t Just Try to Minimize Cost, Maximize Value
At the end of the day, we’re talking about your oral health and the beauty of your smile. These are tremendously valuable assets that are worth investing in. Don’t be driven by trying to get a bargain simply for the sake of saving money. Find a quality dentist you feel you can trust, and then you can utilize tools like insurance to get the best possible value out of that care.
If you are looking for a quality dentist in Fairfax County or other parts of Northern Virginia, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with Dr. Pamela Marzban in Burke.