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Counting providers: roundtable generates interesting discussion

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Fri, Sep 21, 2012


I just returned from the National Association of Dental Plans annual conference in Phoenix, AZ.  In addition to catching up on industry trends and meeting with many of our clients, I was asked to moderate a roundtable session on counting providers.  The discussion generated interesting dialogue about dental PPO network growth, provider turnover, and sub-leasing of networks.

  • Dental PPO networks continue to grow at double-digit rates year over year. Even as penetration of the dental universe passed 40%, the group didn’t see growth topping out anytime soon.  The economy is encouraging providers to keep joining networks to replace lost income from fewer cosmetic procedures.
  • Turnover is not a big issue for dental plans.  Dentists usually stick with the plan unless something major (significant loss of membership or drop in fees) happens.
  • Dentists who join networks are increasingly getting “leased out” to other plans as part of network rental arrangements.  They often end up seeing patients from plans they didn’t actually join.  I thought this might be a confusing or annoying issue for dentists, but the group felt that the dentists and their staffs were handling it well, and that it was a non-issue.

Let me know if you agree with these trends or if you’re seeing something different in your market.

Tags: Healthcare, dental, employee benefits




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