Pediatric Dentist Dr. Mark Nelson Office Policies page

How are Appointments Scheduled?
What About Finances?
Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance

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How are Appointments Scheduled?

The office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children should be seen in the morning when they are fresher and we can work more slowly with the child for their comfort. School children with dental work to be done should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued.

Since appointed times are reserved exclusively for each patient we ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep your appointment. Another patient who needs our care could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things can happen, but we ask for your assistance in this regard.

What About Finances?

Payment for professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. Every effort will be made to provide a treatment plan which fits your timetable and budget, and gives your child the best possible care. We accept cash, personal checks, debit cards and most major credit cards.

Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance

If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. Please be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance electronically so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of the treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days a finance charge of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until paid.

*IMPORTANT* Please keep us informed of any changes to your coverage such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment. Please bring insruacne card(s) with you to reduce any clergical errors. PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company, only you do. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment, we at no time guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We also can not be responsible for any errors in filing your insurance, once again we file claims as a courtesy to you.

Fact 1 - NO INSURANCE PAYS 100% OF ALL PROCEDURES
Dental insurance is a financial aid in receiving dental care. Some people think that their insurance pays 90%-100% of all dental fees. This is not true! Most plans pay about 50% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer have paid for coverage or the type of contract your employer has set up with the insurance company.

Fact 2 - BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
You may notice that your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist's actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist's fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee ("UCR") used by the insurance company.

A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and simply is not accurate.

Insurance companies set their own schedules and each company uses a different set of fees they consider allowable. These allowable fees may vary widely because each company collects fee information individually. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently this data is out of date and these "allowable" fees are set by the insurance company to increase profits by reducing reimbursements.

Insurance companies may imply that your dentist is "overcharging" rather than say that they are "underpaying" or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower UCR fee.

Fact 3 - DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume the fee for service is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First a deductible (paid by you), on average $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for this particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00, or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee they will pay an estimated $80.00 leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00 or your plan pays only at 50% then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, please keep us informed of any insurance changes such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment.

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