Finding Affordable Dental Care in Georgia

Yes, you can find affordable dental care in Georgia. Bum tooth? Bleeding gums? You can get relief without shelling out a lot of dough.

You will find dental insurance, dental plans and dental clinics. These  may seem the same but they are not.

Dental insurance for individuals and families comes in three flavors.

Dental HMO’s offer the best overall value. There are no deductibles, most services are covered by an affordable copay, and there are no annual or lifetime caps on benefits. There are also no waiting periods for major services and 6 month check ups including cleaning and X-ray’s are usually $20.

On the other end of the spectrum are indemnity dental insurance plans. You are free to choose any dentist, including your own. Indemnity plans are a bit pricier but the freedom to use any dentist appeals to some people.

Dental PPO plans can deliver value as well but often place restrictions on major benefits. Under most plans, you will not be able to utilize major services until the plan has been in effect for a year.

Most dental PPO plans are not insurance, but offer discounts on most dental services when you use a dentist that is in network.

If you cannot afford dental insurance and dental care there are low cost dental clinics throughout Georgia. These clinics offer services on an ability to pay. Services are not free, but are discounted.

There are plenty of options for those looking for affordable dental care in Georgia.

Your Dental Dollars at Work

Ever wonder about how dental plans work? For some, they work too well.

Many may not know it, but Medicaid covers dental care. This taxpayer funded program for low income people has pretty good benefits . . . if you can find a dentist willing to accept the low reimbursement levels.

In Georgia the number that seems most accurate hovers around 4% of dentists are willing to treat Medicaid patients.

Apparently there are some dentists in New York who are more than happy to treat Medicaid patients.

Earlier this year, auditors from the state comptroller’s office noticed that a Brooklyn dentist, Dr. Alan Zukor, had billed Medicaid for giving several patients fillings for all 32 of their teeth on a single day.

When they looked a little closer, they noticed that in several of the cases, Dr. Zukor had also submitted a claim for pulling those same teeth — all of them — from the same patients. The records seemed to show a bizarre and painful waste of dental care.

The bizarre part I get. It is the painful portion I don’t.

“The human mouth typically holds 32 teeth,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement. “Billing Medicaid for filling and then pulling all 32 teeth from seven different patients within a few weeks should have raised a red flag.”

Red flag? Yes, you would think . . .

According to Mr. DiNapoli, in one instance, Dr. Zukor claimed he filled 30 teeth for one patient in two office visits. On a single day in January 2008, he claimed he filled 243 teeth for 18 patients; a month later, in February, he claimed he extracted 256 teeth from eight patients, or 32 teeth per patient.

Jewish people refer to this as Chutzpah.

I just call it incredibly stupid.

But apparently this is not the only N.Y. dentist who is creative in his Medicaid billing.

ALBANY, N.Y. Auditors say the state Medicaid program may have overpaid $2.9 million for services like teeth cleaning for toothless patients.

Do they floss too?

Auditors identified almost 22,000 questionable services for about 6,500 patients with dentures during the five-year period ending June 30, 2008. That included almost 1,500 dentists who billed Medicaid $863,000 for cleanings, fillings, extractions and X-rays for about 5,000 patients with full dentures.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

In case you are wondering, dental plans from Georgia Insurance Shop don’t work that way . . .

Dental Crisis

Georgia Insurance Shop is proud to offer a wide variety of dental plans for residents of Georgia. Almost 100 million Americans lack dental insurance according to CBS news.


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If you are looking for dental coverage, we have found three very good options for Georgia residents. Two of the plans require participants to use network dentists while the third allows you to choose any dentist. With all dental plans you can review options, rate and apply online.

Toothplans is a gateway to 15 or more discount dental plans. There are no waiting periods, no deductibles and no annual caps. Participating dentists will discount the price of services on preventive and major work (including orthodontia).

Teethplan from CompBenefits is a DHMO (dental Health Maintenance Organization) that delivers outstanding value with insured benefits. There are no deductibles, annual caps or waiting periods.

Our newest addition allows you to CHOOSE ANY DENTIST. Like the other plans, there are no waiting periods for preventive or major care. Unlike other dental plans, you are not required to change dentists. You can continue using the same dentis you have for years and receive all the benefits of an insured dental plan.

Choose Any Dentist

What if you could keep your current dentist, but pay less with each visit? Most dental plans on the market require you to see THEIR dentist, but not PrimeStar. You can see you own dentist and pay less for routine visits, even major work such as crowns and root canals.

No need to have some stranger looking in your mouth.

And there are NO WAITING PERIODS.

Most plans will accept you for immediate benefits, but will make you wait 12 months before you can get a crown.

Not so with PrimeStar. Major services including crowns, bridges, oral surgery and dentures are covered following a $50 deductible.

You can also add vision benefits for a few dollars more.

Review, quote and apply online.

PeachCare

PeachCare is the Georgia version of SCHIP . . . the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan. PeachCare is funded through taxpayer dollars, with roughly a third coming from federal taxes.

In addition to medical care, the PeachCare plan cover’s dental benefits for qualified children up to age 18. In addition to funding issues, Peachare (and any other taxpayer funded health care plans) face major hurdles for accessability.

Many providers are refusing to service PeachCare/Medicaid patients due to the low reimbursement rates. In 1999 roughly 260 dentists accepted PeachCare/Medicaid as a form of payment. The state agreed to increase reimbursement rates which led to an increase to 1800 dental providers over the next few years.

That number is now down to less than 600 participating dental providers.

Every time a PeachCare/Medicaid patient is treated, the dental provider loses money unless they are running some kind of scam. Georgia is not the only state with disappearing providers. Here is a letter to the editor from a dentist in California. [Read more…]