What’s next—The integrated dental structure

A look at what the future relationship between insurance and dental practices might look like.

Months ago, we posted several times that insurance companies would be acquiring and managing dental practices.

As insurance companies continue to consolidate themselves and grow larger, as some insurance companies become embedded in medical insurance and as the competition in the dental third-party world intensifies, the push for acquiring and consolidating dental practices by insurance companies will rapidly increase.

Related article: Will this insurance move put an end to solo practices?

With their resources, established networks of dentists and the ability to package their insurance products through their own networked practices at reduced fees, the impact on the industry will be powerful.

Seven out of 10 patients have some form of dental plan. Nine out of 10 dentists, whether solo or in groups, take some form of dental plan. Employees want both medical and dental insurance. So as competition for qualified employees is increasing in many sectors and employers are watching their bottom line-with an integrated model of dentistry made up of insurance companies, dental management companies and dental practices-that integrated model will become a strongly competitive element in an already rapidly changing environment.

To quote J. Paul Getty, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” Integrated models of dental care will be a disruptive change. And dentists, their political organizations, and yes, even the DSOs and group practices, better get ready for the changes they will need to make and new collaborative partners they will need to choose as this new future emerges.