Payer reimbursements stagnant for nearly 60% of dentists despite rising costs

Insurance reimbursement rates have remained stagnant for dentists this year despite rising operating costs, according to an August poll by the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute. 

The poll was taken as part of the ADA's monthly "Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry" report. The HPI surveyed about 1,200 dentists on their operating expenses, according to a Sept. 8 news release.

The poll reported on the percentage of dentists who experienced a rise in cost in six areas, including supplies, staff wages, lab fees, personal protective equipment, equipment and rent or mortgage. More than 42 percent of dentists said the cost of supplies and materials rose by 11 percent to 20 percent, while 44 percent said staff wages increased by 1 percent to 10 percent.

The ADA said its poll shows the insurance industry has yet to respond to the increased costs. Nearly 60 percent of dentists said in the poll that rates have remained stagnant, 25 percent indicated their rates have decreased and 7 percent of dentists reported an increase in insurance reimbursements in the last year.

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