Dentists can no longer afford to be just dentists. They have to face the fact that there is a business part to their practice, if they want to continue to make a profit. The competition is fierce, and 80% of dentists have to become part of preferred provider organizations (PPO) to survive. That usually means agreeing to the rates the insurance companies force on them. You can negotiate dental fees, though, and make more money even if you join a PPO. Let this article be your guide.
Use any advantage you have
Most PPOs are not open to negotiations, but you may be in a strategic position to force them to the bargaining table. Find out if have any advantage at all, and use it well. If you happen to be the only dentist in your area, for example, your PPO may be more willing to consider giving you more than the standard fees. It is important to negotiate your fees before you sign up, or you are stuck.
Time it right
If you are already with a PPO, you can still try to renegotiate your rates. The best month to do that is in August, when most PPOs are not so busy. They are more willing to listen to you then. Make the most of the slack by pressing for an increase of several percentage points for 10 procedures. Choose the most expensive ones so you get the most out of your efforts.
Join a group
Solo dentists have much less power to negotiate, so consider forming a group of other dentists. Have one person negotiate your rates with a PPO on your group’s behalf. Another option is to sign up with a service that represents many dentists to negotiate for you. This should make them more willing to listen. Dentists have to make some tough choices when it comes to trying to survive in this competitive market. Joining a PPO is often the best option despite the lower rates. However, you can improve your situation by negotiating the rates. It cannot hurt to ask, at any rate.