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The High Cost of Low Cost Health Care

It’s always nice to get something at a low price. Sometimes you can even get high valued items on sale below cost. But what happens when a valuable service is on sale below cost all the time? Quality and value suffer. This is exactly how the insurance industry is influencing health care and dental care with price controls.

While insurance industry executives blame the high cost of health care on high compensation of doctors, what is really happening? Insurance executives are drawing 7 and 8 figure salaries with stock options, bonuses and perks while doctors are experiencing double digit decreases.

How is a dental patient affected when the dentist isn’t successful? First of all, the dentist has to see more patients in the same amount of time so the patient has to wait to be seen while the dentist dashes from room to room seeing multiple patients. Second, the dentist is going to have to cut labor costs so the staff is going to be underpaid, undertrained and unmotivated. Next, the dentist is going to have to save in other areas such as new technology, materials, furnishings, supplies and facilities. Finally, the dentist won’t be able to afford the hands-on continuing education to provide the latest innovative techniques in the profession. The patient suffers from all these cutbacks.

There are other ways the patient suffers that aren’t quite as obvious. When dentists are underpaid, they have to choose cheaper dental laboratories to make their crowns and bridges and quality suffers here, too. When dentists can’t afford the latest technology, high tech dental manufacturing firms go out of business, denying the public from benefitting from the latest research and development. Finally, dental schools go out of business as they have in recent years because the best and the brightest students don’t want to study hard for low pay and the dental schools rely on donations from successful alumni to stay open.

If dentists did not sign up for low cost insurance contracts, none of these problems would exist. Patient care would be outstanding, service would be great, materials would be the best and dental schools would attract the best candidates to secure a bright future. This is why many of the top cosmetic dentists do not affiliate with insurance companies who impose fee restrictions.
Dr. Bernstein is a longtime Piedmont resident in private practice 2 blocks from Cal Piedmont. He is a clinical instructor at the world renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and his practice focuses on Cosmetic Dentistry and 5 star guest services. Dr. Bernstein can be reached at 848-SMILE (848-7645) and at