Q&A on dental insurance trends for the remainder of 2020

2020 07 08 16 55 0975 Grandidge Shelley 400thumb

Shelley Grandidge is the owner of Southwest Health Options, an Arizona-based company that sells Medicare, health, and dental coverage for individuals, families, and businesses.

With Grandidge being in the business of helping customers obtain insurance, I thought it would be interesting to ask her for her perspective on what she saw in terms of dental insurance trends in her business during COVID-19, as well as how business has been since dental practices began to reopen. I also wanted to ask her for her predictions on dental insurance usage for the rest of 2020.

Q: So what trends have you seen when it comes to dental insurance in the first half of the year, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic playing such a big role in our society?

Shelley Grandidge.Shelley Grandidge.

A: I am a Medicare specialist, but about half of my business is for people under 65 and people of all ages need dental insurance. When the COVID stay-at-home order happened, I think people were just paralyzed with fear. I mean, for a couple of weeks, nothing happened at all. It didn't matter what kind of insurance it was, people weren't buying. However, I believe our business is pretty recession-proof and, sure enough, after that first couple of weeks, business began to pick back up again.

Q: How do you discuss dental insurance with your clients?

A: Nobody likes to get a surprise bill, so I explain that dental insurance is an investment. I get a regular stream of calls where people are like, "Oh, well, I just went to the dentist, and I need to have XYZ done." I then have to explain that 99% of the dental plans I sell have waiting periods. Many people are surprised to hear that, so there's a lot of misunderstanding out there about how dental insurance really works.

I think if dental practices could make it a priority to educate the patient on dental insurance from the first time he or she calls the practice, it could make a big difference in avoiding a potential misunderstanding. Obviously, dental practices educate the patient on the benefits of good oral hygiene, but there's more to a visit to the practice than just that.

Q: What's your feeling on insurance versus an in-office membership plan?

A: Well, again, it comes down to education. I know a lot of dental offices do membership plans. But in my experience, it's more of a discount plan and it's not really insurance. I think it's important for patient to understand the difference between insurance and a membership plan and not to confuse the two.

Q: Are you seeing dental insurance business pick back up?

A: It started a little bit, then paused. Now it's starting again because people are losing their health and dental insurance with unemployment. I do expect more and more calls as we get deeper into the second half of the year.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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