Dental discount for senior recommendations

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beserker
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Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by beserker » Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 pm

My father seems to need serious oral/dental care. He has no insurance, and he his household income is just over required threshold to qualify for free dental clinics. From what I've been reading in BH, it is not worth getting dental insurance especially with his preexisting condition.

My understanding is if we get dental discount plan, it generally has no limit and has no exclusion for preexisting conditions. So my question is how can you compare from one plan to the next. There appears to free ones and ones that costs about $100-$200/year. Any recommendations you may currently have?

I thought about may be trying to negotiate a cash discount with a dentist, but it may be simpler to just have a dental discount that have negotiated amount set. Your experience and recommendation will be greatly appreciated.

mhalley
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by mhalley » Tue May 14, 2019 2:57 pm

The 2 things that come to mind are
1. Dental school for procedure
2. Dental tourism
https://patientsbeyondborders.com/procedure/dentistry

smudge
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by smudge » Tue May 14, 2019 4:19 pm

My dentist gives DH and me a 15% discount for cash/ check. I found dental insurance had too many annual limits for retirees.

GmanJeff
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by GmanJeff » Tue May 14, 2019 5:23 pm

Aetna has a discount program which may be helpful. It typically results in discounts of around 50% of what fees would be otherwise, but you do have to use a participating dental practice.

https://www.vitalsavings.com/

megabad
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by megabad » Tue May 14, 2019 8:53 pm

beserker wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 pm
I thought about may be trying to negotiate a cash discount with a dentist, but it may be simpler to just have a dental discount that have negotiated amount set. Your experience and recommendation will be greatly appreciated.
My elderly relatives shop major dental work like they are shopping for used cars. The last root canal they were quoted $1600 by one dentist and $800 by another. Big shock, they went for the $800. Dental treatment is easy to shop so I would do so if you are uninsured.

Cactuscoug
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by Cactuscoug » Wed May 15, 2019 6:49 am

Costco has a dental insurance program without all the rules and restrictions of other plans that we have seen. Limited choice of dentists.

Topic Author
beserker
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by beserker » Wed May 15, 2019 8:48 am

mhalley wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:57 pm
The 2 things that come to mind are
1. Dental school for procedure
2. Dental tourism
https://patientsbeyondborders.com/procedure/dentistry
Thank you for your suggestion. I'm going to rule out dental school as I don't feel good about having my father go to dental school as a subject, but I am going to consider dental tourism if the treatment becomes cost prohibitive. I am reserving some money on my own to pay for the treatment, hopefully it does not become excessive....

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beserker
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by beserker » Wed May 15, 2019 8:49 am

smudge wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:19 pm
My dentist gives DH and me a 15% discount for cash/ check. I found dental insurance had too many annual limits for retirees.
So how does this compare vs using a dental discount program? I'm seeing discount programs offering discounts upto 60% off, so I'm curious whether you were able to negotiate better deal.

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beserker
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by beserker » Wed May 15, 2019 8:56 am

Thank you for those who replied. I've checked Costco program, but it is not available in my state, Aetna vital dental is one of the programs I'm reviewing atm. I don't know how one can shop around the dental prices, if dentist A quoted $1600 and another dentist quoted $800, how can someone know if $800 is a good deal vs going through a discount program? To complicate the matter, I think each dentist has different negotiated price with each insurer/discount program, am I right?

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dm200
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 8:59 am

beserker wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 pm
My father seems to need serious oral/dental care. He has no insurance, and he his household income is just over required threshold to qualify for free dental clinics. From what I've been reading in BH, it is not worth getting dental insurance especially with his preexisting condition.
My understanding is if we get dental discount plan, it generally has no limit and has no exclusion for preexisting conditions. So my question is how can you compare from one plan to the next. There appears to free ones and ones that costs about $100-$200/year. Any recommendations you may currently have?
I thought about may be trying to negotiate a cash discount with a dentist, but it may be simpler to just have a dental discount that have negotiated amount set. Your experience and recommendation will be greatly appreciated.
1. When he is eligible for Medicare, note that some Medicare Advantage plans offer discounts for dental services. My Medicare plan offers this.

2. Check with several area dentists about what they can tell you about the various dental insurance type plans. When I see my dentist, I notice brochures in the waiting room for such plans.

3. As noted, some dentists (mine does) offer a discount for full cash payment

4. Maybe (don't know) it might be worthwhile (if not done already) for a full evaluation of his situation - with alternatives (and the costs) and priority of needed treatment.

5. From many things I read, some dental issues can seriously impact overall general health

6. Some dentists, very quietly, do very discounted work for low income patients. This work might be when, for example, a Social Worker or Clergy person makes a direct request/referral. I know a local dentist who did this (now retired) when his pastor would make a request.

Good Luck!

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dm200
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:07 am

beserker wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:56 am
Thank you for those who replied. I've checked Costco program, but it is not available in my state, Aetna vital dental is one of the programs I'm reviewing atm. I don't know how one can shop around the dental prices, if dentist A quoted $1600 and another dentist quoted $800, how can someone know if $800 is a good deal vs going through a discount program? To complicate the matter, I think each dentist has different negotiated price with each insurer/discount program, am I right?
No expert, but I think what you want to compare is the net cost for each dental code. My Medicare plan discount program has a multi-page list of what each code will cost me - and the plan pays the dentist the negotiated fee for that service. When I went to a new dentist a few months ago, I spot checked his bills and matched the codes to my code list from my plan.

It might work like this. Let's say that procedure/code D12345 would cost $500 - list price from a particular dentist. You plan might be such that you pay this dentist $200. The dentist would, then, submit a claim for your D12345 - and receive his/her negotiated amount - maybe(?) $200. The dentist agrees, then, to accept less than his/her list price - BUT will get more patients by accepting this insurance.

Some localities/areas have "Free Clinics" for medical services for the needy. Maybe such places offer dental services? Check them out.

sport
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by sport » Wed May 15, 2019 10:38 am

Most of the posts in this thread discuss costs and the comparison of costs from one dentist to another. Reading these posts, one might conclude that dentistry is a commodity, and you can get equivalent service from most any dentist. In my experience, there is a wide range of competency among dentists. Inferior dentistry at a low price is no bargain. I would rather pay more to have it done properly. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to judge the quality of a dentist's work before hand. I once had a dentist friend tell me "You will know within 5 minutes whether or not you like a new dentist, but it will take 5 years before you can tell if the dentist is any good". I found my present dentist by asking a periodontist for recommendations. A periodontist gets to see the work of many general dentists and has a professional opinion on which ones are good. My present dentist is expensive, but his work is flawless.

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dm200
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 10:53 am

sport wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:38 am
Most of the posts in this thread discuss costs and the comparison of costs from one dentist to another. Reading these posts, one might conclude that dentistry is a commodity, and you can get equivalent service from most any dentist. In my experience, there is a wide range of competency among dentists. Inferior dentistry at a low price is no bargain. I would rather pay more to have it done properly. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to judge the quality of a dentist's work before hand. I once had a dentist friend tell me "You will know within 5 minutes whether or not you like a new dentist, but it will take 5 years before you can tell if the dentist is any good". I found my present dentist by asking a periodontist for recommendations. A periodontist gets to see the work of many general dentists and has a professional opinion on which ones are good. My present dentist is expensive, but his work is flawless.
Some of my conclusions:

While the age of the dentist itself, some older dentists no longer do some kinds of work any more. Some older dentists, as well, continue to use older and outdated equipment. I moved to a new dentist because of accepting my insurance, but my wife still uses my previous dentist. He is older and has cut back his hours a bit. However, he seems to have and maintain modern equipment. Neither did we experience any reluctance to do the normal procedures or any deterioration of the physical skills necessary for dentistry.

Quickfoot
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by Quickfoot » Wed May 15, 2019 11:07 am

Some offices will do sliding scale fees for elderly people, worth asking.

The "cash" discounts people like to talk about aren't really discounts, insurance pays lower than the bill rate so really after the "cash" discount is applied you are paying about what they would get if they billed insurance and had to accept the contractual rate. The "cash discount" is a marketing / sales tool and a way to make people feel like they are getting a deal and to get them to accept treatment that they need.

This is the same way "discount" programs work, what they really do is get you the contractual rate that insurance companies pay.

People like to feel that they get a lower rate because they save the office the "complexity" of billing insurance but offices are *very* good and efficient at billing insurance, if an office is going to have problems getting paid it's from the patient not paying their portion, NOT by insurance.
megabad wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:53 pm
beserker wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 pm
I thought about may be trying to negotiate a cash discount with a dentist, but it may be simpler to just have a dental discount that have negotiated amount set. Your experience and recommendation will be greatly appreciated.
My elderly relatives shop major dental work like they are shopping for used cars. The last root canal they were quoted $1600 by one dentist and $800 by another. Big shock, they went for the $800. Dental treatment is easy to shop so I would do so if you are uninsured.
You do need to be careful with this, quality of dental car varies WIDELY from office to office. Cheap is not necessarily good when it comes to healthcare (often it is not). The best way to keep costs low is to be proactive, $50 for a water pick and proper flossing and brushing, $250 for a filling, $1500 for a root canal, $2500+ for an implant. By the time you need a root canal or other major service the time to save a large amount of money is over. Call and get a couple estimates, most offices should be within a couple hundred dollars of each other; if you find a much lower price there is a reason (and probably not one you are going to like). I'd run away from an office billing 50% lower than the market rate.

You can't shop for healthcare like you do for commodities. My wife is a dental hygienist and is having three crowns replaced tomorrow because before entering the field she unknowingly had bad work done (and it wasn't cheap bad work). The dentist that did the bad work is very highly regarded in the field and the community but it is starting to come out that quality of work isn't what it should be.

Cheap dental work is like buying cheap tools, you 'll end up buying it twice and probably wind up getting hurt.

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dm200
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 12:30 pm

It is so difficult for patients (like me!) to judge the quality of a dentist upfront.

I just went to a new dentist a few months ago - I had a lot of work that needed to be done - that I had "deferred" over the last few years. I needed a new dentist who would accept my Kaiser dental discount plan.

There was one dentist located in the same building where I work that took my dental plan. I asked my boss - and she said she went to this dentist once - and did not go back because she thought he was "too rough" in working in her mouth.

I went and he seems just fine. Not "too rough" at all for me. He seems to explain everything very well - including showing (on a screen on the wall in the exam room) X-rays. He even described and showed me the X-Rays of a possible sinus connection/risk with an upper tooth issue. His billing matches 100% with my plan discount schedule. He also seems to want to do a good job in his work on my teeth. Some of the work I have had, so far, has been relatively expensive (but reasonable with the insurance discount). In a few months, I will get a dental implant for a tooth that could not be saved - and that is not covered by my plan - and will be expensive. While there might be a lower cost alternative to the implant, such as a bridge, I believe an implant to be the best, long term choice. I plan and hope to live at least 20 more years - well into my nineties.

He does not seem to push for unnecessary or unreasonable extra work.

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dm200
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 12:32 pm

My wife is a dental hygienist and is having three crowns replaced tomorrow because before entering the field she unknowingly had bad work done (and it wasn't cheap bad work). The dentist that did the bad work is very highly regarded in the field and the community but it is starting to come out that quality of work isn't what it should be.
Unfortunately, not surprising.

Any ideas why the high regard, but bad dental work?

Mooks
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by Mooks » Wed May 15, 2019 1:36 pm

beserker wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:48 am
mhalley wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:57 pm
The 2 things that come to mind are
1. Dental school for procedure
2. Dental tourism
https://patientsbeyondborders.com/procedure/dentistry
Thank you for your suggestion. I'm going to rule out dental school as I don't feel good about having my father go to dental school as a subject, but I am going to consider dental tourism if the treatment becomes cost prohibitive. I am reserving some money on my own to pay for the treatment, hopefully it does not become excessive....
Dentist here. Between those 2 options I would do a dental school hands down over tourism. A dental school is very tightly regulated by faculty who have no financial interest in the treatment and there is plenty of recourse should things go wrong (typically it will be fixed at no extra charge). Tourism is the opposite. No regulation and plenty of financial conflicts of interest and I have had more than a few patients who pay extensively when they get home to fix problems created abroad. Not saying all dental tourism is bad but it is very difficult to evaluate and should something go wrong you have little recourse.

I will be the first to admit that picking a good dentist is near impossible and the profession has unfortunately been infiltrated with some very unethical folks. That being said, if office A is getting $1500 for a root canal and office B is getting $800, there will always be a reason why office B is cheaper and it is very rarely going to be altruism.

Best way to find a good dentist is to call a local dental lab and talk to the guy who makes the crowns. See who he brings his family to.

sport
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by sport » Wed May 15, 2019 3:53 pm

I once asked my dentist why he was not part of any insurance networks. He told me that if he were, he would get more patients, but the charges per patient would be less. The end result would be more work for him and no more money. He said he did not want to sign up for that.

toofache32
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by toofache32 » Wed May 15, 2019 8:02 pm

beserker wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:56 am
To complicate the matter, I think each dentist has different negotiated price with each insurer/discount program, am I right?
There is no "negotiation" as insurance companies make you believe. These are contracts of adhesion with fees set by the insurance. Take it or leave it. If the dentist can find ways to cut costs enough to make it work such as using a cheap lab and cheap products, they will often sign up for those plans.

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beserker
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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by beserker » Fri May 17, 2019 8:45 am

Thank you all. Having taken in the previous recommendations, I'm reviewing discount plans through dentalplans.com and checking area dentists/periodontists reviews (mainly via yelp and google - subtracting reviewers with few reviews as they may be fake reviews) while checking for which plans are mostly accepted and provides best discount. I like my current dentist (unlike my previous dentist he does a great job cleaning my teeth and he tells me straight whether certain procedures are needed or not), so I'm including him in the searches and few other dentists with great reviews. I had read in BH someone recommending coast2coast, which has dental discount through another company, but the discount wasn't that great. There was a well reviewed periodontists who offered new patient $250 first visit deal with cleaning/xrays/exam. So I'm going to search for few more those and compare with discount plans too.

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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 17, 2019 11:26 am

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Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

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