Have you ever needed a dental treatment, only to find that your insurance provider refused to cover the claim? Have you ever had a treatment completed, only to receive an unexpected bill? You’re not alone. Insurance companies are tightening their coverage limits, leaving many patients frustrated and in pain. In response, many dental practices are cutting out the middleman by implementing in-house alternatives — a new kind of coverage.
After numerous requests from patients over several months, Drs. Kevin Patel and Sheena Neil have implemented such a plan at Dogwood Family Dental. The membership plan at this Aberdeen facility is open to those who do not currently have dental insurance and are seeking preventative measures or emergency treatments.
“Insurance companies are, more and more, trying to deny services that we’ve already provided, or denying services for which we’ve established a great need for,” Dr. Patel says. “We wanted to be able to provide affordable care for our patients, without them having to rely on their insurance to dictate which treatment is the best.”
Though this type of program would typically be available for the 55 percent of Americans who the U.S. Surgeon General estimates are without access to dental insurance through work or family, Drs. Patel and Neil hope that the community will ultimately see their plan as a better deal that what may be offered through an insurance conglomerate.
“A lot of the time, people think that their insurance is there to tell them what they need or don’t need,” Dr. Neil says. “They think that if an insurance company says a procedure isn’t necessary, then it isn’t. But that’s not true, because these companies are in the business of looking out for themselves.”
Increasingly, Drs. Patel and Neil have seen a growing trend toward claim denial, even after extensive paperwork has been filed — and after costly pre-screening measures, like x-rays, have been completed, leaving the patient with the bill.
“We know it needs to be done, the patient knows it needs to be done, and, with our plan, the patient can go ahead and have the service that we know they need,” Dr. Patel says. “We are trying to bring the power back to the patients.”
Among other things, the plan includes emergency exams and 25 percent off all the services they render. It’s just one more service offered by Drs. Patel and Neil, who pride themselves on offering modern services in a friendly, small-town environment.
With advanced training in surgery, endodontics and implant placement and restoration, and a certification in Invisalign — plus a commitment to providing patients with emergency, same-day services — Drs. Neil and Patel pride themselves on being a one-stop-shop for patients, and the membership plan is no different.
“When a patient is happy, not in pain, comfortable to speak and comfortable showing off their smile, then we’ve done a good job and it’s been a good day,” Dr. Neil says.
For more information on the services Dogwood Dental provides, visit dogwooddental.net. Located at 908 N. Sandhills Blvd. in Aberdeen, the office is open from 8-5, Monday through Thursday. Call 910-944-5600 to schedule an appointment.