Why I’m not a “Participating Provider” with any insurance companies


You’ll understand this picture once you finish reading the blog…. 🙂


Welcome to this month’s blog! I’m happy you decided to join me on a topic I’m particularly passionate about. This month I’d like to talk about why I choose not to “participate” in any dental insurances, and also shed some light on the reality of what it’s like from a dentist’s point of view. Now don’t get me wrong, I accept and process most insurances in my practice. But there is a distinct difference between that and being a “participating provider”…read on…

Routinely, patients will message me on FaceBook or send letters asking me to please participate with their insurance. For those of you who are not familiar, let me fill you in on what being a “participating provider” means.

Insurance companies offer a trade to dentists. Essentially they say:

Hey, Dr. Palmer, we know that if no patients are sitting in your dental chair you’ll lose money. If you deeply discount your treatment for us, we will guarantee your chair is full of patients. You’ll never have to worry about an empty dental chair again!” 

If a dentist agrees to this trade, he/she becomes a participating provider.

In other words, the dentist now works for the insurance company, and not for the patient. 

When a participating provider deal is struck, the dentist must make some changes to the way he/she practices in order to stay in business. This usually translates into the dentist spending less time with patients, using cheaper materials, cutting corners, and outsourcing lab work overseas. Otherwise, due to the deep discount, the dentist would go out of business.

I don’t mean to sound sappy, but I will always offer patients the highest quality care. I will always, without compromise, give my patients the very best treatment, and strive to give them the best experience. Personally, I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. It’s just not worth it to me to cut corners and spend less time with my patients just to stay busy.

I urge all that are reading this to choose your dentist not by who your insurance provider recommends as “preferred” or “participating”, but instead by reading online reviews, talking to a trusted coworker or friend, or even speaking with a prospective dentist personally. Price shopping for dentists is like price shopping for parachutes! A famous quote says: The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”, and it’s especially true with dentistry (and tattoos…now do you understand the picture?).

I have made the choice to put my patient’s wellbeing first. Will you choose your own wellbeing, or the insurance companies wellbeing?

Thank you all for reading this month’s blog! As always, I remind you that I write all my own blogs and none of this is “copy and paste” or anything like that. So if you have a question or comment, just leave it below or on Facebook. I’m happy to discuss anything!


Dr. Palmer



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