Dentaltown March 2020 - 14

A few years later, the same thing happens again: Dentists sign up for another lower-fee service,
all the companies have to cut their fees to be competitive, and dentists get paid even less. It's not
even the cat chasing its own tail-it's more like a snake eating its own tail.
Delta can't keep its fee schedule the same because of the competitors out there: A lot of insurance
companies have gone out of business over the years, just like dentists go out of business. Delta
couldn't keep its fees higher unless every other benefits company agreed to as well, and that would
be price-fi xing, which is illegal.

Dental plans benefit the patients, not the dentists
Let's go back to the beginning of dental insurance: After the WWII era of national wage freezes,
the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Pacific Maritime Association needed
to find a way to demonstrate value to its dues-paying members even if raises were off the table. It
couldn't get its members more dollars per hour, but what about free dental treatment for their children?
It started in just three states-Washington, Oregon and California-and expanded into Delta Dental,
which also spun off preferred providers, or PPO plans.
Dental insurance didn't get its start because health care coverage was sacred or necessary; it was because
unions couldn't get their members higher wages. Insurance companies are selling employers a benefit to reduce
staff turnover. "We offer dental insurance, medical insurance and 401(k)s only because we want you to work here,
and not over there."
An insurance company's customer is your patient's boss, because that's who is helping to cover her dental bills.
That boss is looking to pay the lowest rate possible- why would he or she buy a more expensive plan when you've
signed up to accept lower-priced ones? And yet you see the insurance company as the bad guy.

See Howard Live!
Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, is an international speaker who
has written books and dozens of articles. To schedule him to
speak at your next national, state or local dental meeting,
email rebecca@farranmedia.com.

2020
March
20

Western Treasure Valley Dental Society

If you don't want insurance companies to keep lowering their
fees, don't sign up to accept all of these insurance companies
with lower fees! It's like finding an addict in the alley, asking
me to sell him some drugs, and when I ask why he wants to
buy drugs, he says, "Because I'm tired of the drugs. So please
sell me some more drugs."
If you're going to sign up for every plan that comes by with
a lower fee, that's fine and great-that's competition. But I don't
want to listen to whining about the other insurance companies
lowering their fees. Because they're only following your lead. ■

Meridian, Idaho

May
1

Ortho 2020: Adapting to a Changing World

May
15

New Hampshire Dental Society

Sept.
18

Harrisburg Dental Society

14

Cut back on plans that cut coverage

Rome, Italy

Concord, New Hampshire

How can dentists say 'no'
and still stay in business?
Dr. Howard Farran lays part of the blame for low
reimbursement rates on dentists for accepting
so many competitive plans. Is going fee-forservice the only solution? Sound off on this
column in the comments section online at
dentaltown.com/magazine.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

MARCH 2020 // dentaltown.com

DT0320_HowardSpeaks_Ag.indd 14

2/18/20 10:57 AM


http://www.dentaltown.com/magazine http://www.dentaltown.com

Dentaltown March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown March 2020

Dentaltown March 2020 - Cover1
Dentaltown March 2020 - Cover2
Dentaltown March 2020 - 1
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Dentaltown March 2020 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltownuk/2018Winter
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2017December
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https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2012december
https://www.nxtbook.com/farran/dentaltown/2012November
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