Insurance Assignment

Q: Why do some dental offices accept payment directly from dental insurance plans and some don’t? 

A:  The only reason some dental offices still do this is to provide a service to their patients.  Once upon a time it was standard procedure (so I’m told but was before my time).  However, in most cases it is unnecessary.  When dental treatment is provided, your dentist (like your grocery store) expects to be paid when you receive the treatment.  In an office which accepts insurance payments (called ‘assignment’) they will bill the insurance company directly for their portion and you for the remainder.  Unfortunately, many insurance plans are becoming increasingly more difficult for dental offices to deal with, making this a bigger hassle than it already was.  Unbeknownst to most patients (and even some dentists) this creates an accounting hassle (nightmare in many cases) for the office.  If for some reason your coverage has changed and the insurance plan now reneges on payment the dental office must now collect from the patient after the fact.  Guess who comes out as the bad guy?  The dentist!  

In the other scenario where ”assignment” is not accepted, you have treatment, you pay your bill, the dental office still does all the paperwork for you but has your insurance plan pay their reimbursement directly to you.  With this scenario, patients have a better understanding of their dental plan, how it works and what to expect.

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