Dental Insurance Madness- Part I
The roll out of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obama Care) is sure to bring lots of changes in health care for patients and providers alike. Both parties brace themselves for the changes, hoping for the best and neither can ignore the six hundred pound gorilla in the room, the insurance industry. To have coverage in 2014, the extended open enrollment period for the plans in the “Market Place” ends on March 31st. It’s no surprise that tons of busy parents like you and I are either still reviewing their options for affordable and practical health care or dealing with buyer’s remorse, wondering at the last minute whether their health plan selection was a good call. A few concerned parents have come to me asking for my input. Some are looking for recommendations on a pediatrician that would be in their new policy’s network. While others are so confused about HMO, PPO, DPO, in-network, non-contracted, life-time maximum, and so forth – all the overwhelming insurance jargon – just hoping to find a human being they can trust to help them decode their options and help them know what they’re actually getting.
Though I very much intentionally stay away from directly dealing with insurance related issues in my private practice, over the years, I’ve had enough experience with insurances as a patient and a provider to have a pretty firm understanding of the basics. It seems apparent that one of the effects of the Affordable Care Act will involve the awakening of the insurance consumer to have to self educate and better understand how insurances work. The consumer will surely realize that dental insurance plans are very different from medical. As it stands, the average consumer has very little knowledge of how dental insurance works and how it is drastically different than medical insurance. Since dental insurance is now mandatory for children, and my own medical insurance carrier dropped my family’s policy due to “non compliance with Affordable Care Act” recently, I’ve had to spend a considerable amount of energy and time looking at my options for medical and dental insurance. As I would navigate the different policies being offered on the web, I couldn’t help but wonder “would the layperson be able to navigate this booby trap filled maze?”. This experience and the many questions I’ve been getting from my patients’ families motivated me to dedicate then next few week’s posts to all the poor souls that are lost and wondering what they need to consider and prioritize when shopping for dental insurance. Stay tuned.