LifeMap: The Future of Dental Benefits
For the last 18 months the WSDA and its membership have worked closely with LifeMap Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Cambia Health Solutions, to develop an innovative insurance plan. LifeMap’s Dollar-Based Dental offers a competitive alternative to traditional dental plans. It will be marketed and sold to employers starting in March of 2015.
So what is Dollar-Based Dental, and what can it do for your practice?
The goal of LifeMap Dollar-Based Dental is to return the conversation about care to the doctor and the patient. The employer decides what type of benefit package their employees will receive based on a set dollar amount and not service codes, while the patient and their dentist determine the best treatment. There are no pre-authorizations to create delays in care and most of the traditional limitations and exclusions are eliminated.
All covered services are paid on a simple dollar amount benefit structure. Additionally, the premiums charged to employers can be very competitive with traditional plans.
In Washington, the standard Dollar-Based Dental plan is available as an Open Access plan. Meaning there are no participating provider networks; so patients can see any dentist they choose and dentists can use their own fee schedules.
In order to facilitate eligibility and benefits, LifeMap has partnered with Wellero. Wellero has an advanced mobile app that helps patients not only select a dentist but provide real time settlement of claims at time of service. Patients know exactly what their co-pay is and can pay instantly with a linked health savings account or credit card.
How is this different than direct reimbursement models of the past? First, it is an idea backed by a successful multi-million dollar company whose trained sales team partners with brokers to educate the marketplace and sell the product to employers. They believe this is a potential solution for employers who have fewer and fewer benefit dollars to spend on traditional dental benefits while offering a speed bump in the dental market’s race to the bottom for the last 10 years.
Dentists’ roles in patient care have eroded considerably in the last decade. While you have had your fees frozen for seven years combined with a 15 percent fee reduction, you have seen in increase in predatory policies, claim denials, and new restrictions placed on how you can care for your patients. Your representation as a member has been marginalized. All this has occurred while the cost of business has continued to rise, making it more difficult for you to offer your patients the care they deserve.
It is time for us to reclaim the conversation and relationships we have with our patients.
This is not an overnight solution. Your support and involvement will play a vital role in the success of this product. The Washington State Dental Association will provide materials and support so that you may have the opportunity to get involved. Learn more about what you can do to ensure the success of Dollar-Based Dental. There will be more to come in the next few months.
Together, we can bring a better state of dental health to Washington.