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Coronavirus - Denplan/Simply Health

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I'm a Denplan customer and completely understand that dentists are at significant risk due to the virus. I have a Denplan policy, and have a painful cracked tooth that normally would have been treated by now under that policy - but it's likely that I will have to wait until it is an emergency, and even then I might need to try to get help from the NHS. However, Denplan have continued to take the full premium from my bank account which seems unethical since they can't meet the obligations of their policy. I also wonder if Denplan/SimplyHealth have furloughed staff, even though their policy income isn't reduced?

Anyone else with a view? One for Money Saving Expert to follow up on?
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  • brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    Denplan themselves only take a small amount of what you pay. The rest goes to the dentist to provide all treatment that you might need or , in the case of essentials , checkup, hygiene etc. The payments cover the years worth of treatment . 
    All dentists are still open for triage and , in Wales and Ireland , certain treatments. Many dentists are being redeployed (unpaid) in various parts of the health service and most NHS emergency clinics are manned by dentists who work in both private and NHS service. 
    Dentistry will be very different when the restrictions are lifted , many surgeries are likely to close due to the financial implications. Private dentists are entitled to very little or no financial help. 
    Every dentist will be making plans to extend hours/days to cope with the massive backlog of treatment there is. 
  • MoneySeeker1MoneySeeker1 Forumite
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    I certainly get that some people will be inundated with a backlog to catch up on once we get Back to Normal (whenever the heck that is!) and dentists and hairdressers are likely to be the first many of us head for. So - yep...extended hours then (hopefully from our pov!).

    So what do you see as the longer-term future for ensuring we are all still with the same level of access to dentistry (at least!) as we had at the beginning of this year. It is worrying to read re private dentists feel under threat in the long term - and, all the more worrying for those of us in a part of the country where NHS dentists are like moondust to find anyway.

    I know a lot of us have dealt with scarcity of NHS dentists in the area we happen to live in by swopping to (cheaper level) private dentists to ensure we have what we require/when we need it. Can we assume that, if there are difficulties likely to be experienced even for those of us using private dentists once we're back in Normal Times again that the Government etc will move back in the direction of encouraging these private dentists to go back into the NHS.

    Admits that one of my own dislikes is seeing someone with a mouth full of ugly teeth and long ago decided I would never have teeth that look like that - and I admit to being scared the Government may just leave even the private patients amongst us to "sink and be ugly and/or painful teeth". 

    So what do you think the Government will do to make sure we can get "full access as Normal" once this is over? I know, in their position, I'd be doing what it takes to ensure private dentists wanted to come back under the aegis of the NHS again and would do so - but are they going to do what is obvious to us as necessary?
  • edited 14 May at 4:56PM
    brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    edited 14 May at 4:56PM
    In my area there is no more money for NHS dentistry .,there is a policy not to commission any more NHS dentistry. This is likely to be even more the case post covid 19

     During this crisis I know NHS and private dentists who have gone bust already. 

    Buying PPE has gone up enormously , by 10 to 20 times the cost , that's if you can get hold of it. 
    To follow protocols when dentists do open they will only be able to see a fraction of the people they can see now. Eg if drilling maybe 4 people a day as opposed to 30 plus in NHS practice. Less in private. 

    The governments do not have the money to increase nhs provision , and at the moment the way nhs is paid no surgery can cope with the decrease in people seen and massive increases in costs. 

    Dentists private and nhs are on a precipice. Not only now but for the future.

    my prediction is that access will be much more difficult than now , there will be massive backlogs because treatment will take much.much longer. Some difficult decisions will be made about what nhs dentistry can provide , I would guess a core service eg no crowns, bridges, root fillings etc just very basic treatment. 

    I would guess private treatment will have to increase costs to cover extra time and expense that treatment will need. Many private and mixed practices will go bust and this will affect NHS provision because most surgeries subsidise NHS treatment with their private work.

    I would guess many many more dentists , dental nurses will leave the profession due to the stress , burnout,risk  and financial pressures. Dentists have been putting themselves at huge risk during this crisis , many private and NHS have been redeployed , others (private) who have no income are working in other jobs eg amazon warehouse to keep money coming in . They will then be working very long, very stressful hours in full PPE to try to clear the backlog. 

    I would say if you have a dentist,keep them , finding a new one who can see you, once this crisis is over , will be nigh on impossible. 
  • sstevo19sstevo19 Forumite
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    My dental plan through my dentist goes through Practice Plan (similar) and I'm quite happy to still make payments each month. Because I've finally found a dentist who I feel comfortable with (I had avoided for a few years due to anxiety/nerves) and I would want that money to go to them. I hope that they won't have to close down after this is over. I'm not frustrated that they can't provide help unless it's in an extreme circumstance, because I wouldn't want to put myself or them at risk (I don't need any help atm, the only thing I'm suffering with is clenching my jaw due to stress). If you can afford to still pay it each month, I would do so, if not, see if there's any way you could reduce it. 
  • cozeycozey Forumite
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    Thanks for all the comments on this thread.
    I totally take the point about the situation dentists currently find themselves in and, like in so many areas of life, Covid has exposed the cracks. I had to take out a Denplan because finding an NHS dentist near me was almost impossible. I like my dentist and wish dentists in general no ill. However, like many people, I currently have no income - it's not just dentists who have been affected by Covid. My original post was about Denplan and the premium I pay to them. In effect, a contract - with many exclusions and provisions that protect them and their interests. Are the Denplan Chief Executive and Directors currently working in an Amazon warehouse to pay the bills. Doubtful. My question was about whether it is ethical to take money for something you are not able to provide - do you not expect a refund when your flight is cancelled, are you continuing to pay your local restauranter for the meals you would have had, will you pay your barber/hairdresser for the cuts you missed over the last two months? We are all affected, but Denplan are still unapologetically taking a premium - no reduction, no explanation of what they are doing to help starving dentists. I note that one car insurer will be giving give it's customers a £25 refund on current policies due to the fact most of them aren't driving much and therefore the insurer's risk level has been lower - is the principle not the same?
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  • Scoobie268Scoobie268 Forumite
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    Hi, what you are paying for under your Denplan plan entitles you to (I'm guessing) 2 x dentist checkups and 2 x dental hygienist visits annually.  
    Effectively the monthly payment is for the yearly entitlement cost spread over 12 months rather than you paying it when you turn up.  So yes you should pay it as you should be getting this 'service'.  Any appointments that occurred in the Covid-19 situation will be re-booked once they are operational again.  But do remember that you need your dentist practice to be able, financially, to survive this crisis too - and they have been woefully shafted by the Govt in terms of any financial support.
    The analogy you used of hairdressers is not quite correct, as that's on a 'pay as you go' type of transaction and not with the cost spread over the year.
  • cozeycozey Forumite
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    Thanks Scoobie - except I won't now get that basic entitlement over the course of this year - and I can't access the emergency treatment. As I said in my last post, this is not about the dentists, this is about the health insurance company. I'm still paying the full premium and assume most of that would normally go to the dentist. If so many dentists are struggling, as the other posts have suggested, then you have assume that very little of the premiums is finding it's way to the dentists. Which means Denplan are winning twice over - no payments to dentists, no refunds to customers. Insurance companies are notorious for finding small print exclusions to do avoid paying out - but they are never shy about taking the premium. The bottom line is that Denplan are not fulfilling the contract I have with them - who would accept that for any other commercial service? Just to be clear - I'm not having a go at dentists.
  • edited 20 May at 11:24PM
    ToothsmithToothsmith Forumite
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    edited 20 May at 11:24PM
    Corey, you are misunderstanding what Denplan is. 

    It is not an insurance policy, and Denplan do not pay the dentist for whatever work they do on your teeth, or check ups etc. Denplan do not run practices or employ/furlough dental staff. 

    On Denplan, the vast majority of your monthly fee goes to your dentist. It is the dentist who owns the surgery, not Denplan. Denplan just take out a small(ish) admin fee for which they provide a collection service, admin backup, and a huge amount of support for their member dentists. 

    If you are on Denplan care (the dearer one) then that fee means that any dental care you need, you get. (This doesn't include cosmetic stuff you may 'want' but not 'need'). You pay lab fees if stuff like crowns, or dentures are needed, but certainly not the full cost of these items.

    if you are on Denplan Essentials (the budget option) Then your monthly fee gets you a set amount of check ups, a set amount of hygienist visits, and possibly x-rays. Any treatment you need beyond this is paid for at the practices private fee rate, although often with some discount. 

    Both schemes do have an insurance component that cover emergency care whilst on holiday, weekend call-outs, and damage caused by accidents such as falls, or being hit in the mouth. 

    At the moment, we cannot provide routine dentistry, but when things open up again, whatever has become necessary, will be fixed if you have continued to pay your Denplan fee. 

    I am pretty lucky in that my patient base is mainly Denplan. And my patients have pretty much completely stayed loyal. This has given me the funds to be able to invest in all the things I'm going to need to continue to provide a safe service for them once I'm allowed to operate again. They will be dealt with, and I will sort them out.

    For the few who have stopped paying, then they will first of all have to wait until I have room to see them again after I've sorted out the loyal ones (In the new world, appointments will have to be well spaced, and not as many people will be allowed in the building at the same time) And once I can see them, they will have to pay private fees again until they are 'dentally fit' and I can re-sign them onto Denplan. 

    Given that many practices relying more on fee-per-item patients may be in a more precarious financial position, there certainly will not be the same amount of dental practices left the other side of all this. 

    How to find a dentist.
    1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
    2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
    3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
    4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
  • edited 21 May at 9:23AM
    UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    edited 21 May at 9:23AM
    Corey, you are misunderstanding what Denplan is. 

    It is not an insurance policy, and Denplan do not pay the dentist for whatever work they do on your teeth, or check ups etc. Denplan do not run practices or employ/furlough dental staff. 

    On Denplan, the vast majority of your monthly fee goes to your dentist. It is the dentist who owns the surgery, not Denplan. Denplan just take out a small(ish) admin fee for which they provide a collection service, admin backup, and a huge amount of support for their member dentists. 

    If you are on Denplan care (the dearer one) then that fee means that any dental care you need, you get. (This doesn't include cosmetic stuff you may 'want' but not 'need'). You pay lab fees if stuff like crowns, or dentures are needed, but certainly not the full cost of these items.

    if you are on Denplan Essentials (the budget option) Then your monthly fee gets you a set amount of check ups, a set amount of hygienist visits, and possibly x-rays. Any treatment you need beyond this is paid for at the practices private fee rate, although often with some discount. 

    Both schemes do have an insurance component that cover emergency care whilst on holiday, weekend call-outs, and damage caused by accidents such as falls, or being hit in the mouth. 

    At the moment, we cannot provide routine dentistry, but when things open up again, whatever has become necessary, will be fixed if you have continued to pay your Denplan fee. 

    I am pretty lucky in that my patient base is mainly Denplan. And my patients have pretty much completely stayed loyal. This has given me the funds to be able to invest in all the things I'm going to need to continue to provide a safe service for them once I'm allowed to operate again. They will be dealt with, and I will sort them out.

    For the few who have stopped paying, then they will first of all have to wait until I have room to see them again after I've sorted out the loyal ones (In the new world, appointments will have to be well spaced, and not as many people will be allowed in the building at the same time) And once I can see them, they will have to pay private fees again until they are 'dentally fit' and I can re-sign them onto Denplan. 

    Given that many practices relying more on fee-per-item patients may be in a more precarious financial position, there certainly will not be the same amount of dental practices left the other side of all this. 

    Really?

    Surely (correct me if I am wrong) you pay an agreed amount per month which covers checkups and (within certain limits) any treatment you need? So a person in the same band who doesn't need any treatment that year pays the same as another patient who needs loads of work doing? How is most of that not insurance?

    Isn't that exactly like a British Gas "Home Care" contract on your central heating? That most certainly is insurance and is regulated as such.

    You get an annual checkup ("service") plus parts and labour for any repairs during the year. There are various options like paying a lower premium but then paying a excess on any repairs. Your claims during the year are taken into account if / when you renew.
  • brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    No , before you are accepted onto Denplan you will have a check up which assigns scores to your gum health , the number of fillings , crowns , root fillings , missing teeth etc you have . 
    The amount you pay per month is related to how healthy your mouth is and how much work you have had done in the past and what the individual running costs of each practice are,  . However you do have to pay the cost of laboratory work and things like cosmetic treatment , implants , specialist treatment etc. And you have to be dentally fit before you are accepted.

    Seperate to that most providers of plans like Denplan , include a discretionary policy which covers emergencies , accidents , call outs , emergencies abroad , etc . That has nothing to do with the practice and a small amount of what a person pays each month will cover this. 

    To reiterate what toothsmith said out of a payment to Denplan or any plan provider , the majority will go to the practice , an amount will go to the provider to cover admin, discretionary cover and the substantial education , improvement , inspection and practice clinical and business support many of these companies provide. 

    In the case of most practices , they still have very substantial outgoings every month even though they are providing a service limited by the government , health boards, GDC etc. Those who are on Denplan type schemes are a little more secure as there is something coming in . This helps as most practices are facing massive bills to provide PPE and other equipment , alongside with seeing far,far,far fewer patients a day to deal with the decontamination processes involved. 

    However practices are already going bust , with the prospect of more to come. 
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