Fellow dentist needs your ideas!

July 7, 2010
A dentist in the Pittsburgh area talks about how dental insurance has a stranglehold on the profession, and seeks suggestions from colleagues about how to deal with these issues in the dental practice in a way that will offer positive alternatives.
Dear Dr. Joe Blaes:I hope to reach out to the readers of Dental Economics magazine. We of the dental profession, in the Pittsburgh region, are pretty much constrained by dental insurance and its stranglehold on our profession.I read with great interest the fees listed in a recent issue of Dental Economics. If I received these fees, I would be very financially independent. However, as we have contracts with dental insurance companies to accept their assigned fee profiles, my income has been substantially reduced to the point that I was not even able to take a paycheck for the months of December and January.I know this sounds ridiculous, and one would ask why I don’t just opt out of these plans. If 99% of all the dentists in the Pittsburgh region were not in dental plans, this would be a logical alternative. However, dentists who have opted out of the plans have gone from financial constraints due to lack of proper income to a point of financial suicide. In addition, the FTC would fine any dentists for restraint of trade if we attempted to band together in an organized effort to resign from the plans. Thus, the cure would be worse than the disease.I’m not alone in my financial distress in this area of the country. As I said, many others, close to 99% of us, are in the same financial sewer. My question is, what do we do to get out of this terrible dilemma so that we may start to enjoy the balance of our careers with a decent income? I cannot stress strongly enough that the dentists who have tried to leave the contractual arrangements with insurance companies have headed for bankruptcy due to lack of any income at all. This is not an exaggeration. I only hope that other dentists in other regions have not yet been overwhelmed by the public’s fixation on insurance, and that they will take heed from what has happened here in the Pittsburgh area. My question then is, what do I do, what alternatives do you offer, to be removed from this awful situation? I’ll be looking forward to a response that will help give me some alternatives without creating financial suicide.Very sincerely,Anonymous, DMD
Pittsburgh, PA
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