Recently, while I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across an article about the virtues of a pure insurance-based dental practice – HMO, PPO, and public health.
There is no doubt an insurance-based dental practice is run differently than a fee-for-service dental practice. Is one better than the other? No, they are just different. Unfortunately, too many people relate the word different with bad, which leads to an insurance-based practice stigma.
Some believe insurance companies are too controlling and affect how they practice, which leaves them in disgust. However, most people I chat with run a blended dental practice providing some fee-for-service and some insurance and it works out fine for them.
All insurance, no insurance, some insurance? Here's the crux of it all – it doesn't matter. Everyone must decide for themselves how they want to practice. Some people choose to become an employee of a corporation while others choose to own their own practice. In the end, does it matter? No.
Dr. Frank Spear's "Choosing Whether to Partner With Insurance Providers" course is among the insurance- and practice management-focused lessons among the more than 1,500 lessons and industry-leading dental CE materials available on Spear Online to help you run a more successful independent dental practice.
What's right for you?
But when it comes to the insurance question how do you decide? Usually, the answer comes from your own experience. Getting exposed to what you like and what you don't like helps guide your decision-making process. Also, ask yourself, “Are you happy,” and “Are you profitable to the level you want to be?”
There are benefits to running an insurance-based dental practice. If you get to know your numbers and run the business with a low reimbursement, you can be profitable. If you develop systems and a team that can handle a large daily volume, you can be profitable.
If you serve a large demographic of people who may not have access to dental care, then you probably won't need to work as hard for new patients as a fee-for-service practice because patients will find you through the provider list from insurance companies.
Some patients see dentistry as a commodity, as if every dentist is the same, while other patients want and appreciate something different. And there appears to be a big enough pie for all of us, no matter what we choose.
I realized many years ago, who am I to say what is right for someone else? Each one of us gets to chart our own journey.
Good luck on your journey, may it lead you to where you want to go!
Carl E. Steinberg, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., L.L.S.R. (www.dentistryinphiladelphia.com), is a member of Spear Visiting Faculty and a contributor to Spear Digest.