Do I stay with my child during the visit?
Absolutely! Our practice maintains an open-door policy for parents. Younger children benefit from the presence of a parent in an unfamiliar environment. Your presence during examinations allows Dr. Chris the chance to address any concerns you may have regarding your child’s dental condition.
For children receiving treatment such as fillings, our experience has shown that they usually have a better visit with parents outside the treatment room. Parents are encouraged to check on their children whenever they wish, but children often make more effort to cooperate with us if they don’t know they have a parental audience – so try to be stealthy!
For treatment involving intravenous sedation, for safety reasons we recommend that you relax in the reception area and accompany a staff member if you wish to come back to check on your child.
How are appointments scheduled?
When we give you an appointment, we are giving you and your child a special bit of our time to receive services from us. We allocate enough time to provide your child with an attentive visit and to address any questions you may have for us. We provide a courtesy reminder several days before your visit and ask that you give us 48-hour notice if you will be unable to make your appointment.
If you arrive at our office more than 15 minutes late, we will make every attempt to accommodate you back into the schedule if it will not compromise the quality of service we provide to you and if it does not cause an unfair wait for families scheduled after you.
We know that life happens, but families that repeatedly miss appointments or arrive late will be required to make a $50 per patient donation to one of Dr. Chris’s favorite charities to renew scheduling privileges.
What about finances?
We want to build a happy long-term relationship with your family. We are ethically and morally driven to provide as much clarity and accuracy of treatment costs to you as we can provide.
We accept most PPO insurances that allow you to choose your dentist. When you first call our office, please have any insurance information available for us. If you are a regular patient and your insurance changes, please inform us as soon as possible. Providing us with enough time to call your insurance provider before your child’s dental visit will allow us to get a better estimate of possible co-pays.
Dental insurance is a wonderful benefit that can help make dental care more affordable for you. We make great effort to help you navigate the confusing world of dental insurance coverage. As a courtesy we will submit claims to your dental insurance on your behalf and collect your annual deduction and estimated co-pays on the day that dental services are rendered. Any further portion that is not covered by your dental insurance will be billed to you after all benefits have been received from your insurance carrier.
Dental insurance policy is an agreement between you, your employer, and the insurance carrier. It is advisable to call your insurance carrier to know the actual coverage you will receive. We use information you and your carrier provide us to make as accurate an estimate as possible for your out-of-pocket costs, but ultimately your insurance carrier will make the decision as to what they will pay for services you receive.
Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance
If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. You must be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance electronically, so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of the treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days a re-billing fee of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company, only you do. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment. We at no time guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We also can not be responsible for any errors in filing your insurance. Once again, we file claims as a courtesy to you.
Fact 1 - NO INSURANCE PAYS 100% OF ALL PROCEDURES
Dental insurance is meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90%-100% of all dental fees. This is not true! Most plans only pay between 50%-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has paid for coverage, or the type of contract your employer has set up with the insurance company.
Fact 2 - BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
You may have noticed that sometimes your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist's actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist's fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee ("UCR") used by the company.
A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable, or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and simply is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider allowable. These allowable fees may vary widely, because each company collects fee information from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently, this data can be three to five years old and these "allowable" fees are set by the insurance company so they can make a net 20%-30% profit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies imply that your dentist is "overcharging", rather than say that they are "underpaying", or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact 3 - DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume the fee for service is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First a deductible (paid by you), on average $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for this particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00, or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee they will pay an estimated $80.00 leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00 or your plan pays only at 50% then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please keep us informed of any insurance changes such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment.