Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Insurance Dependence

      Our doctor, Fred Troxel, recently volunteered his services at a community heath fair. I tagged along to help with the dental screenings, excited at the chance to help pass along some beneficial information. Reaching out to a population that is seemingly under-served brought a very important subject to light, insurance dependence. Majority of who sat in our chair at the health fair explained that the reason they have not been to a dentist in years is because they don't have insurance. Does this sound familiar? Too often the question countering a proposed dental treatment is, "Will my insurance cover it?".

 I raise the question,
How dependent is your health on insurance coverage?

     Challange yourself with this question next; Who decides what is best for your health? Are you in the drivers seat, choosing the best possible treatment and preventive care for yourself, or is your insurance company? I acknowledge that with the state of our economy medical costs can seem overwhelming. Yet, can you put a price on your health? Is keeping your teeth for the duration of your life worth something to you? Each of us will have a different answer to these questions.

     What are your expectations of dental insurance?

    There can be misconceptions about exactly how dental insurance works. It's signifigantly different than most medical insurance plans.The average cost of a dental plan is around $25 a month. Over the course of one year it adds up to $300. This total is compartivie to the cost of a comprehensive dental exam and hygiene appointment combined. Dental insurance usually has limitations to how much they cover in the period of a year. If there is major work to be done, do not expect more than one to two thousand dollars coverage per calander year. There are some plans that expect you to be a patient at a specific denist of their choice, therefore removing your ability to choose your own practicitioner.

   I often help my patients become clear about who or what is directing their choices for health. There can be many barriers to obtaining optimal care.

Some examples of personal hurdles to overcome include;
  •  fear of the unknown
  •  anticipation of pain
  •  financial
  •  level of priority
Regardless of what barriers may be present, try to identify what role insurance plays in this. Often, when the responsiblity of insurance is cleared the true reason for not taking the best care of yourself is revealed, and only then can you start to face your true hurdles.

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