World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry is proud to be joining the network of providers and members that make up the Patient Physician Cooperative of Portland. PPC provides a program that helps the patients by providing access to affordable healthcare, and provides a way for doctors to support their patients who are uninsured.
Members pay a monthly fee and sign an annual contract agreeing to make monthly payments to the Coop. This gives affordable, accessible care from a Dental or Medical Provider that is chosen by the patient and provides preventative care, primary care, office visits, and management of chronic conditions.
World of Smiles is now a provider with the Coop and provides two annual visits per year and a percentage off additional treatment fees, in addition to providing limited emergency exams for a small co-pay. Membership with PPC includes access to allopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, and acupuncture care, along with nationwide benefits.
For more information, or to begin your membership, visit www.ppcpdxcoop.com today!
As some articles note, around 1/3rd of all Americans are without dental insurance, many of whom are actively needing treatment and all of which should be visiting a dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. In Oregon, we are affected at a growing rate, and it is astounding how few children have any coverage for dental treatment.
At World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry, we are concerned about this trend and are actively working in the community to find ways that promote accessibility to care. From volunteering with the Tooth Taxi and Give Kids a Smile Day, to participating on committees at the state level, to assisting families with affordable dental care; the goal of our practice is to ensure that lack of insurance does not equal lack of care.
Dr. Stafford and her team at World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry worked to create a dental membership savings plan that is available to any patient family with no dental insurance. After reviewing what a family would normally pay for two annual visits, including a variety of x-rays and sealants when the child is of age, Quality Dental Plan allows a family to participate in regular preventative visits at a significant discount. In addition, when treatment is diagnosed and performed, Quality Dental Plan members experience additional discounts. We believe this is an incredible improvement on the costs and benefits of a traditional dental insurance plan, and helps the member directly apply their money to their treatment of choice.
Paying monthly premiums is a standard for most Americans when it comes to various forms of insurance: car, life, medical, and dental. We hope we aren’t ever in a position to need the insurance, but we hope that when the time does come for us to tap into that money that we will have it available to us and to our families. Much of the time, it is safe to say that insurance does “insure” and provide a safety net to help in times of need. But when it comes to dental insurance, the story changes drastically.
As we have talked before, dental insurance is much different than traditional medical insurance in that there isn’t a “vat” of money available to you, within the restrictions and guidelines of what your employer has purchased. Dental plans have a yearly maximum (by in large – there are a select few that do not carry yearly maximums), generally no more than $1500.00, and once those monies have been paid out, nothing more is available for you to use. Dental practitioners often shake their heads sadly when patients proclaim, “I have insurance, no problem!” because we see time and time again that their benefits only provide for partial assistance toward larger treatment plans.
It very much holds true that any neglect that occurs in our mouth will hit our pocketbooks with a bang, as the cost of treating dental decay and oral diseases has risen proportionate to the overall rising costs of healthcare, but dental insurance benefits have not caught up.
In observing these trends here at World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry, we also have seen a large amount of families that either do not have access to dental insurance benefits through an employer, or wish to invest their money more wisely. Our reply has been to offer Quality Dental Plan to our families. Quality Dental Plan is a membership savings plan, similar to what you would find at Costco. For one annual fee (which is about 40% less than what the average family would pay out of pocket) your child has two annual cleanings, exams, flouride treatments, and yearly x-rays. There are additional discounts applied to dental products available in our office ($30 for a SoniCare for Kids!) and a 25% discount off any treatment that needs to be done.
Interested in learning more? Call our Business Team today to find out how Quality Dental Plan can work for you!
As the healthcare debate rages nationally, one Portland area dentist has decided to do something tangible to help individuals and families afford quality dental care. “Statistically speaking, more than 60% of Americans don’t have dental insurance,” said Dr. Michelle Stafford of World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry. “This means that a large majority of families here locally delay dental procedures, which is not good for dental health or overall healthcare.” A recent report by CBS News cited by Dr. Stafford indicated dental decay as a contributing factor in many seemingly unrelated problems… including employment problems, heart disease and childhood school absences.
“Here in our community we see kids who are in chronic pain because a simple cavity was not caught in time. That cavity was not caught because the parents perceived that they could not afford dental care. By the time the pain for the child is unbearable… the cost of solving the problem has escalated two or three times over what it would have been if caught a year earlier. This bothered me a great deal and our team decided to be part of joining in a solution.” The solution that Dr. Stafford joined in with other dentists across the country is both simple and quite ingenious… and may prove to be a model for healthcare reform across the board. “We found that we could create a system where families could get earlier preventative and less expensive dental care.” The program is called QDP – Quality Dental Plan, which is now rolling out nationally across the nation thanks to Dr. Dan Marut of Ashland, Dr. Michelle Stafford of Portland, and other forwarding thinking dentists.
“I sat down with my front office team and saw how much money was going to insurance companies, claim forms administration and collections costs. We also calculated how many hundreds of extra dollars families were spending by not catching potential problems that we could have found during a simple annual dental exam. We found that we could offer our young patients exams, cleanings, x-rays, and as much as 25% off our usual fee structure simply by creating our own in-house dental savings plan.” The result was partnering with QDP. And Dr. Stafford is quite proud of what she and the other dentists have worked to create. “This one simple step has allowed us to eliminate the insurance company middle man… and those savings are going right back into the pockets of folks here locally. I’m really proud to be part of this forward looking cost-savings movement. This is a great system for dental care everywhere.”
For more information about Quality Dental Plan at World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Focus on Prevention! Good health habits can reduce the risk of costly medical problems. In dentistry this is particularly true. For children, invest in twice yearly professional cleanings and exams to catch problem areas early. Sealants, preventative resin restorations, and cleanings are much less expensive than the alternatives of composite fillings, pulpotomies (similar to a baby root canal), and crowns. If you invest in preventative care, you can save thousands of dollars in the treatment of decay. The most common issue we encounter are young children who drink soda and full-strength juice regularly, or have anything other than water or plain milk in their bottles. Snacking throughout the day without rinsing with water or brushing are also common cavity contributors.
Follow the Rules! Read the ‘fine print’ in your health insurance policy, or ask your Human Resources department for the insurance broker’s number. Meeting with them for an hour and thoroughly understanding the limits and exclusions of your policy will save you financial headaches down the road. While some offices will bill your insurance plan as a courtesy to you and may call to get a basic rundown of benefits, you should understand that the responsibility for understanding your policy belongs to you.
Get with the Program! Look for free or low-cost health fairs, well-child clinics, flu shots, gyms, and other health-related services available locally. There are many free dental programs open to kids, such as Give Kids A Smile Day!, the Tooth Taxi, and Oregon Mission of Mercy.
*Thanks to the Hays Companies Hope Health Letter, February 2011 Issue, Vol 31, No. 2 for information on these great ideas!
Dr. Staci Whitman and Dr. Michelle Stafford worked for nearly two years to bring World Of Smiles to North Portland. They seek to partner with families to provide education and motivation for healthy dental habits. The practice strives for excellent patient care with a holistic, integrative approach while offering innovative treatment options. Both Docs enjoy teaching families and other healthcare professionals the importance of prevention and laying a foundation of healthy dental practices from a young age. They advocate for infant and child oral health, have had extensive experience with patients of special needs, and are Board Certified Pediatric Dentists. Learn more about who your family will partner with at your next visit!