We attempt to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children are scheduled in the mornings. Experience has taught us that young children are much more rested and cooperative in the mornings. This also allows us to move slowly with them, assuring their comfort. School age children requiring dental treatment are also usually scheduled in the morning. We generally reserve the afternoons for our patients coming in for dental cleanings and check-ups. Dental appointments are an excused absence and we will gladly give you a school excuse at the check-out desk. When regular dental care is practiced, school absences can be kept to minimum.
If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment time, we ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance. We have reserved your appointment time just for you, and if you are unable to keep your appointment, another patient needing care can be seen if we are given sufficient time to notify them. We understand unexpected things happen sometimes, but ask you to assist us with this aspect of scheduling.
If a patient repeatedly no-shows for appointments, parents will be required to pay a fee of $25 before the patient is rescheduled in our office. If the problem persists, the patient will not be scheduled for future appointments in our office.
On your child's first visit to our office, you and your child will be invited back to our new patient exam room. Your dental assistant and Dr Cook will see you there for the dental examination. You and your child will be taken on a tour of the office so you can see the x-ray room, the dental hygiene station, the open bay treatment area where other patients are being seen, and the check-out station. On following visits, for children over 3, your child will come back to the open bay treatment area with the dental assistant.Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 3 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children. We are committed to a team effort in providing the best and safest dental care for your child and establishing your child's trust and independence. However, if you chose, you are welcome to accompany your child to the treatment room. For the safety and privacy of all patients, children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.
Payment for professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your budget and timetable, while providing the best care for your child. We accept cash, checks, and major credit cards. We file most major insurances.
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. You must 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 re-billing fee of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
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 meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90%-100% of all dental fees. This is not true! Most plans only pay between 50%-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has 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 have noticed that sometimes 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 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 from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently, this data can be three to five years old and these "allowable" fees are set by the insurance company so they can make a net 20%-30% profit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies 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 usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) figure.
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.