What is “Fee-for-Service” Dentistry?
When you hear the words “fee-for-service dentistry,” it may sound like a negative. Does it mean cash only? No insurance accepted?
Here is what the reasoning behind fee-for-service really is, and how it can benefit the care you receive.
Quality Over Quantity
Some dental patients feel restricted by their dental insurance: Why, because they can’t select a provider that can offer the level of quality care they are seeking. However, many fee-for-service dentists do accept insurance, even if they do not participate as a “preferred provider” in the plan that you carry.
Working outside of the network allows the fee-for-service dentist to charge a fair and fixed rate for specific procedures. Avoid having their fees managed and dictated by a third-party insurance provider.
This measure allows dentists to utilize the highest quality labs and materials instead of selecting lower-quality facilities to meet cost restrictions. As a result, patients will receive excellent care not restricted by an insurance carrier’s contract.
Payment at the Time of Scheduling
A fee-for-service dentist may request payment in two ways: asking the patient to pay for their services in full at the time of treatment. (to be reimbursed directly by their insurance carrier). Or to pay the co-pay then any remaining balances not included in their insurance benefits after the claims have been processed.
In either method, the patient is paying the same amount. It’s just a matter of who is being paid out by the insurance carrier. Some insurance companies prefer to reimburse the patient directly, making it more cost-effective and efficient for all parties involved to pay for the dental treatment at the time of the appointment.
What Happens Once Insurance is Filed?
Depending on your dentist’s financial policy, many practices are happy to file insurance claims on their patients’ behalf. Even though you are paying the office directly, they manage all of the paperwork and forms needed to seek reimbursement for your plan’s coverage.
It is important to note that insurance claims can take over 30 days or more to file, process, and a reimbursement check issued. Once completed, the payment should be made and mailed directly to your home address.
An Advantage for Patients and Dentists
Fee-for-service dentistry may be a deterrent for some individuals when seeking out a new dentist. The truth is that when you need the best care at a competitive rate, seeking out a fee-for-service dentist provides both you and your dental office of choice with more freedom regarding what’s possible for your smile. Fair pricing allows your dentist to select the best procedures and methodologies, rather than the ones that will “only fit into the plan’s package.”