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#1 paroots

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

We've considered getting our dental work done in Algodones, but it's very far from Florida. An interesting alternative might be one of the discount dental plans such as available here: http://www.dentalplans.com. Has anyone experience with these? The discounts given seem pretty impressive
Pete

Edited by paroots, 16 December 2011 - 11:05 AM.

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#2 bobsea43

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:39 AM

The link did not work, would be interested in it as we just got rude awakening from our dental plan and are looking for new one. When DW retired from the school board at home last year she had option to continue her Delta Dental plan which she did. Last week when she called to get name of doc here in Phoenix she was told the plan was only good in FL, our home state! Neither the plan nor the school board had bothered to tell her that!! And, she cannot canx it until next Fall. We will not be back in FL until Jan of 2013!

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#3 paroots

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:06 AM

The link did not work, would be interested in it as we just got rude awakening from our dental plan and are looking for new one. When DW retired from the school board at home last year she had option to continue her Delta Dental plan which she did. Last week when she called to get name of doc here in Phoenix she was told the plan was only good in FL, our home state! Neither the plan nor the school board had bothered to tell her that!! And, she cannot canx it until next Fall. We will not be back in FL until Jan of 2013!

Sorry to hear about the loss of coverage. I edited the link; I think it should work now. I should also point out that this site deals in discount dental plans rather than insurance. From all that I've read they are overall better than insurance. In some ways, they seem too good to be true. One interesting feature is they allow you to switch plans twice/year so that, as in our case, when we move from FL to CO we can switch from the Solstice Plus Plan One to the Careington Care 500 plan. We have yet to signup for a plan, but those two seem the best so far.
Pete

Edited by paroots, 16 December 2011 - 11:23 AM.

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#4 Technomadia

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:00 PM

I was intrigued by this possibility, as dental care insurance is something missing from our healthcare arsenal as we travel. So, I did some poking around for both dentalplans.com and some of the 'plans' they offer. I highly recommend some googling around for reviews and forming your own decision on if this is a legit service or not.

As I have not personally tried the service out, I won't offer my opinion .. but let's just say, I'm not rushing to click to 'Join' button.

Some of the review sites I found include:
http://www.resellerr...ore/DentalPlans (as I've left reviews on this site before for other vendors, I have some confidence that these are real user submitted reviews)
http://www.trustlink...NSCOM-205991161 (I've never used this site before, so can't comment as to the legitimacy of the reviews.)

If anyone has real life experience to share about these plans, please do let me know!

I do know that when I had a dental emergency a year ago, I called around to dentists in the area we were in - and found one that gave me pricing that was pretty much in line with the discounts listed in these plans. So I suspect that if you shop around, you can likely get similar pricing to what the plans offer.

- Cherie

Edited by Technomadia, 16 December 2011 - 09:01 PM.

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#5 paroots

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 04:31 AM

I was intrigued by this possibility, as dental care insurance is something missing from our healthcare arsenal as we travel. So, I did some poking around for both dentalplans.com and some of the 'plans' they offer. I highly recommend some googling around for reviews and forming your own decision on if this is a legit service or not.

As I have not personally tried the service out, I won't offer my opinion .. but let's just say, I'm not rushing to click to 'Join' button.

Some of the review sites I found include:
http://www.resellerr...ore/DentalPlans (as I've left reviews on this site before for other vendors, I have some confidence that these are real user submitted reviews)
http://www.trustlink...NSCOM-205991161 (I've never used this site before, so can't comment as to the legitimacy of the reviews.)

If anyone has real life experience to share about these plans, please do let me know!

I do know that when I had a dental emergency a year ago, I called around to dentists in the area we were in - and found one that gave me pricing that was pretty much in line with the discounts listed in these plans. So I suspect that if you shop around, you can likely get similar pricing to what the plans offer.

- Cherie

Prior to our posting, we wondered about the legitimacy of these sites, such as DentalPlans, so we called Careington directly who confirmed that DentalPlans was a legitimate reseller of their plan. Careington offers one of the popular discount dental plans on the site in question. We used Careington years ago and they are a very legitimate outfit as well. Based upon the above, we are planning to signup with the Solstice Plus Plan One which seems the best option while we're in Florida. This Solstice plan offers two free exams, xrays, and cleanings per year :rolleyes: Once we head to Colorado we'll switch to the Careington Care 500 plan since Solstice is not available there. DentalPlans allows one free plan switch per year which suits us perfectly. BTW, if one had any concerns about DentalPlans, they could sign up with the plan provider directly. We verified that this is the case with Careington. We do have two words of caution when selecting a plan:
  • Ask if lab work is included in the discounted fee schedule. This is not the case in all plans and can come as a shock when you go to pay your bill.
  • Ask if the rates are standardized for all doctors in your area. In some cases the discounted fee schedules are simply averages and the actual fees vary from dentist to dentist
For those considering any discount dental plan, we strongly recommend finding a dentist that accepts payment under the plan you are considering prior to joining. This is the most difficult step since the discounts are so steep that most dentist will not accept the plan and who knows the list of dentists provided by DentalPlans may be out of date. As you might imagine, the plan is worthless if you can't find a suitable dentist who accepts the plan. In our case we gave the ADA codes (see example attachment below for Solstice) over the phone to dentists we were considering and they quoted the fee. When they understood our question and the quoted fee exactly matched the fee schedule published per the attachment we were satisfied. If not, we hung up and called the next dentist on the list.

As an interesting aside, we know of several dentists in our area charging 2-3 times as much as shown in the discounted fee column of attachment for the exact same procedures and they are booked months in advance. This begs the question as to why other dentists are willing to accept such steep discounts. This seems to be the biggest issue in our minds, not the legitimacy of the sites mentioned. As with anything, it's best to do your research up front.

Pete

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Edited by paroots, 17 December 2011 - 06:58 AM.

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#6 paroots

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 04:52 AM

As followup for those considering a discount dental plan, we have been brainstorming how best to select a dentist on the list for the selected plan. We haven't hit upon a solution, but here are our thoughts so far. Print out the list of approved dentists within your area and note their addresses. Turns out that almost all dentists in our area are in one group or another where several dentists share the same address, hence office. Visit the office and speak with the receptionist. Find out which dentists in that office accept the plan. We're thinking (and hoping) that it may be 100% so that billing, etc is simplified. Ask how much experience each dentist has. Ask which dentist they use. Ideally speak with some of the patients and ask them. One of our concerns is the fact that once a dentist, who currently accepts the plan, grows his business, he might be motivated to stop accepting the plan. From a business point of view, it makes little sense to offer steep discounts when he can fill his dentist chair with full paying customers. In our case there are only 3 or 4 such offices within a 10 mile radius. Several trips as described above might be worthwhile hoping to pick up new information. It would be worthwhile to find several acceptable dentists in case of any turnover in the list of dentists accepting the plan. There is no cost to switch dentists within the same plan. By the way, we printed the list from both DentalPlans and Solstice (the plan provider) and there are numerous differences so one must definitely verify which dentists currently accept the plan. Ideally, there would be an online dental database with customer feedback, but we haven't found one yet. Upon checking Angie's List, we found 37 dentists listed within a 10 mile radius, but not a single one was on the list for the selected plan. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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#7 firedoc

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 11:37 PM

As a retired dentist I hesitantly join this conversation but would like to put out a little information as seen from the dentists side.

Someone above has seen these plans rather clearly. They are marketed to the dentists as "fill your empty chair" opportunities. If a dentist is in an area that is very saturated with dentists there is a possibility that many dentists, both good and bad, may join a plan at least temporarily. But it will almost always be joined by dentists that have 'unused time'. Afterall if you can fill your time with full paying patients why should you schedule in deeply discounted ones. I commonly will refer to the fact that the dentists operating expenses will be the same for the same procedure whether the patient is paying 'normal fee'; or discounted fee. The auxiliarry help, the lab technicians, the supply houses, the utility company, the malpractice insurance companies etc. do not offer discounted salaries or products or lab work or policies depending on whether you are a 'normal' fee patient or a 'discount' patient. The average general practice dentist works on about a 60% overhead, some even more and a few less. If an insurance company comes in with a policy that cuts the fees 30-35% that will come directly from the 'rich' dentists pocket!!!. That being said, there are a couple of ways that the dentist can trim his overhead so that he doesn't lose so much. One way is to use cheap, cut rate labs (maybe even over seas) There are ways to cut corners in the manufacture of crowns, dentures etc that decrease the quality of the product or the longevity of the product. Ever wonder why your crown doesnt fit right the first time, or the second time or the third time? That could mean you have a dentist that is using a cheap lab but is ethical enough to not place the product until they get it right. Fits right the first time every time?, maybe a good lab (more expensive) or it could be that the dentist seats it anyway, after having to grind the crap out of the occlusion or filling that open margin with cement (that will wash out) or leave that open contact (where you get food impaction). Most of these defects the patient would not even notice. There are also different grades of dental supplies. Better impression materials and not so good impression materials. Would the dentist with 'cutrate' patients use the better material? Maybe, maybe not. Do you have to wait for a long time in your dentists office to be seen. I'm talking about an appointme3nt at 2pm and you don't get in until 3:30? This can happen anywhere occasionally but if its a regular thing then your dentist is probably trying to see too many patients to make up for the reduced fees.
Just some random thoughts about these 'discounted' dental plans.

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#8 paroots

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 05:08 AM

As a retired dentist I hesitantly join this conversation but would like to put out a little information as seen from the dentists side.

Someone above has seen these plans rather clearly. They are marketed to the dentists as "fill your empty chair" opportunities. If a dentist is in an area that is very saturated with dentists there is a possibility that many dentists, both good and bad, may join a plan at least temporarily. But it will almost always be joined by dentists that have 'unused time'. Afterall if you can fill your time with full paying patients why should you schedule in deeply discounted ones. I commonly will refer to the fact that the dentists operating expenses will be the same for the same procedure whether the patient is paying 'normal fee'; or discounted fee. The auxiliarry help, the lab technicians, the supply houses, the utility company, the malpractice insurance companies etc. do not offer discounted salaries or products or lab work or policies depending on whether you are a 'normal' fee patient or a 'discount' patient. The average general practice dentist works on about a 60% overhead, some even more and a few less. If an insurance company comes in with a policy that cuts the fees 30-35% that will come directly from the 'rich' dentists pocket!!!. That being said, there are a couple of ways that the dentist can trim his overhead so that he doesn't lose so much. One way is to use cheap, cut rate labs (maybe even over seas) There are ways to cut corners in the manufacture of crowns, dentures etc that decrease the quality of the product or the longevity of the product. Ever wonder why your crown doesnt fit right the first time, or the second time or the third time? That could mean you have a dentist that is using a cheap lab but is ethical enough to not place the product until they get it right. Fits right the first time every time?, maybe a good lab (more expensive) or it could be that the dentist seats it anyway, after having to grind the crap out of the occlusion or filling that open margin with cement (that will wash out) or leave that open contact (where you get food impaction). Most of these defects the patient would not even notice. There are also different grades of dental supplies. Better impression materials and not so good impression materials. Would the dentist with 'cutrate' patients use the better material? Maybe, maybe not. Do you have to wait for a long time in your dentists office to be seen. I'm talking about an appointme3nt at 2pm and you don't get in until 3:30? This can happen anywhere occasionally but if its a regular thing then your dentist is probably trying to see too many patients to make up for the reduced fees.
Just some random thoughts about these 'discounted' dental plans.

Waiting for the flames :blink: .

Thanks for the great insights from one who knows. Apparently my 'empty seat' speculation is accurate. I also note your use of the word temporary when describing dentists who accept these plans. That concerns me since once I pick a dentist he may no longer accept the plan the next time I need him. For this reason, it might be wise to be sure there are several acceptable dentists in your area that accept the plan before signing up for said plan. I wonder if there's a way to evaluate the quality of materials? Is it as simple as asking which lab they use? Any ideas along those lines would be much appreciated.
Pete
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#9 Gemstone

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:33 AM

"Waiting for the flames :blink:"... No flames warranted, just a "Thanks"!

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#10 firedoc

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for the great insights from one who knows. Apparently my 'empty seat' speculation is accurate. I also note your use of the word temporary when describing dentists who accept these plans. That concerns me since once I pick a dentist he may no longer accept the plan the next time I need him. For this reason, it might be wise to be sure there are several acceptable dentists in your area that accept the plan before signing up for said plan. I wonder if there's a way to evaluate the quality of materials? Is it as simple as asking which lab they use? Any ideas along those lines would be much appreciated.
Pete



Most dentists who join these plans due so with the idea that when they get busy enough they will depart the plan - or - they will hire a new fresh out of school dentist to see the discount patients and build the 'numbers' in his/her practice looking toward selling it down the road. The plans normally only require a 30 day notice to quit the plan. Most plans can be joined by any dentist in good standing which can mean a number of things. Some plans limit the number of dentists they accept in an area to make the plan more appealing to the dentist. Some of the plans will market themselves to the dentist by explaining that "yes our fees are low but you can make it up by providing services that are not covered by the plan and therefore you can charge your normal fee." This calls for 'salesmanship' by the dentist or his business manager." Some plans the dentist pays to belong to. Its a real quiqmire out there. The medical field went through all this many, many years ago and look at the mess it has developed into. There are many good dental practices out there you may just have to work to find them. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is as true here as in other places (just amybe not always).

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#11 paroots

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:19 PM

Most dentists who join these plans due so with the idea that when they get busy enough they will depart the plan - or - they will hire a new fresh out of school dentist to see the discount patients and build the 'numbers' in his/her practice looking toward selling it down the road. The plans normally only require a 30 day notice to quit the plan. Most plans can be joined by any dentist in good standing which can mean a number of things. Some plans limit the number of dentists they accept in an area to make the plan more appealing to the dentist. Some of the plans will market themselves to the dentist by explaining that "yes our fees are low but you can make it up by providing services that are not covered by the plan and therefore you can charge your normal fee." This calls for 'salesmanship' by the dentist or his business manager." Some plans the dentist pays to belong to. Its a real quiqmire out there. The medical field went through all this many, many years ago and look at the mess it has developed into. There are many good dental practices out there you may just have to work to find them. The old adage "you get what you pay for" is as true here as in other places (just amybe not always).

Thanks again. We visited 4 different group practice offices today and one lone dentist office. In all cases, every dentist in the group adhere to the same insurance/discount programs which was encouraging. We ended up scoring each dentist and selecting one. They were all willing and able to quote the names of the labs; all were local. All indicated that they had been with our selected discount plan awhile and had no plans to discontinue. Thursday we both will get our free exam and xrays. One catch is that if our teeth require deep cleaning an additional fee will apply according to the schedule we have already received from the plan. This probably correlates with your comment about salesmanship! We were able to opt out of automatic renewal of the discount plan.
Pete
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#12 Steve & Kathy B.

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:37 PM

Interesting thread. I have been selling the Careington dental plan online for 10 years and I'd like to say something.

To retired dentist - in a way you are correct. Dentists who live in rural areas do NOT have to offer discounts to their patients because they have a captive audience so to speak. Or older dentists with an established practice and have as many patients as they want and they just don't want anymore. I get that.

For new dentists or for dentists who live in metro areas where competition is stiffer, then dentists who DO offer discounts to patients will probably do better than those who don't. For one thing, the member of the dental plan gets a discount off the top of what the dentist would normally charge and the patient pays the dentist directly for services rendered. He doesn't have to pay anyone to process any paper work or wait 4 months for an insurance company to pay him. It's been my experience that the negotiated discount rates are very close to the contract rates anyway. ( not really sure about this though!)

For $6.95 a month or for $9.00 a month for TWO or MORE people (do NOT use dentalplans.com they over charge you!) one can join Careington and use the plan across the country wherever there's a network dentist and save quite a bit of money without sacrificing quality of the work done. I have enrolled 1000's of members and have had ONE complaint from my customer about their dentist. My suggestion was for them to simply select a different dentist.

I use this plan myself and so does every family member in my extended family across the country :)
Cheers!
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#13 paroots

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:11 AM

Interesting thread. I have been selling the Careington dental plan online for 10 years and I'd like to say something.

To retired dentist - in a way you are correct. Dentists who live in rural areas do NOT have to offer discounts to their patients because they have a captive audience so to speak. Or older dentists with an established practice and have as many patients as they want and they just don't want anymore. I get that.

For new dentists or for dentists who live in metro areas where competition is stiffer, then dentists who DO offer discounts to patients will probably do better than those who don't. For one thing, the member of the dental plan gets a discount off the top of what the dentist would normally charge and the patient pays the dentist directly for services rendered. He doesn't have to pay anyone to process any paper work or wait 4 months for an insurance company to pay him. It's been my experience that the negotiated discount rates are very close to the contract rates anyway. ( not really sure about this though!)

For $6.95 a month or for $9.00 a month for TWO or MORE people (do NOT use dentalplans.com they over charge you!) one can join Careington and use the plan across the country wherever there's a network dentist and save quite a bit of money without sacrificing quality of the work done. I have enrolled 1000's of members and have had ONE complaint from my customer about their dentist. My suggestion was for them to simply select a different dentist.

I use this plan myself and so does every family member in my extended family across the country :)
Cheers!
www.CareingtonUSA.com

Thanks for the additional insights. We've now finished up with our dental work using Solstice. Everything worked pretty much as expected although we do have the following suggestions:
  • On every visit carry the plan's fee schedule with you to check their bill. We were invariably overcharged. Can't say whether it was intiential or due to incompetence. Once the errors were pointed out they adjusted without further complaint.
  • We got a better deal with dentalplans.com than going direct. We also like the option of switching plans once/year at no additional cost.
  • Be sure to get a treatment plan in writing prior to start and verify that all procedures are covered under the plan. The nice thing about Solstice is the exam and Xrays are free so there are no up front costs prior to receiving the treatment plan.
All in all, it's a pretty complicated way to save money, but we figured to have saved 1000's
Pete

Edited by paroots, 08 April 2012 - 06:14 AM.

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#14 George D

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

I have a great dental plan from http://www.discountdentistry.com that has dentists all over the country so it's great while traveling. When I joined I received a complimentary vision, prescription and chiropractic plan too. They have a medical program as well - if you know anyone with pre-existing conditions or anyone that simply can't afford expensive medical insurance.

Hope this is helpful,
George

#15 imnadinekerst

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 10:06 PM

I have a great dental plan from http://www.discountdentistry.com that has dentists all over the country so it's great while traveling. When I joined I received a complimentary vision, prescription and chiropractic plan too. They have a medical program as well - if you know anyone with pre-existing conditions or anyone that simply can't afford expensive medical insurance.

Hope this is helpful,
George


Impressive! Thanks for sharing this.

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#16 whj

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 08:54 AM

Saw on TV news 2 days ago warnings about dental discount plans. The short story, there are big problems
with many of them and over all most people were not happy with them. It was told that dentist sign up with the plans when they
are starting their business to get new clients. They realy don't like them because they feel the fees are to low. After they get their
business up and doing well, they drop out of the plan and the company that runs the plan does not delete then from the provider list so it looks like there are a lot more
dentist that accept the discount.

Have you given any thought to Mexico for dental work? That is what we do and there is info on the issue on the forum. Good Luck

#17 Gemstone

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:17 PM

firedoc....whats the inside scoop on the deep cleaning so often recommended these days....

"One catch is that if our teeth require deep cleaning an additional fee will apply"....seems like the story of the lady going into the auto repair and being told that her car needs new muffler bearings....it'll be $300 ma'am....

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#18 SIBERNUT

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 08:10 AM

Uh, do these plans come with the little gizmo that translates what you say into Swahili or Pashtu ?

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