A survey of dentists’ satisfaction with patient dental covers, provided by insurance companies based in Kenya.
Lodhi, Tariq Abbas
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The financing for public oral health care delivery in Kenya is very limited. The option for Kenyans is therefore either to pay ‘out of pocket’ or utilize dental insurance covers after paying a premium. The purpose of this study is to explore the satisfaction of dentists with patient dental insurance covers in Kenya, and investigate its benefits to their patients; since dentists are the actual dental services providers and not the insurance companies who sell these covers. An exploratory web based survey was sent to 840 dentists registered with the Kenya Dental Association, with 77 completing the entire survey, and 55 dentists fulfilling the selection criteria of having past insurance experience. The results showed that 72.73% dentists were not satisfied with insurance companies and 87.27% felt dental covers in Kenya did not meet the needs of their patients. A few specific issues were further probed. 92.31% of dentists were dissatisfied with the period of time taken to pay them by insurance companies for dental services rendered. This time was found to be 3 months or more. 90.39% of respondents were dissatisfied with the annual dental cover limit offered to patients. The common limits for these covers was found to be between Kshs 10-20,000/-. 86.54% of dentists were dissatisfied with the exclusions of dental procedures, not covered by insurance. 80.77% were dissatisfied with the fees for dental procedures paid to the dentist by Insurance companies. 76.93% were dissatisfied with the process of pre-authorization prior to treatment. 67.31% were dissatisfied with the time taken for approval by insurance companies to commence dental treatment. It is recommended that dental insurance providers reconsider their exclusion criteria and annual patient dental cover limits. ICT can further be adopted to improve the pre-authorization process. A different remuneration model for dentists can be adopted to promote preventive dental care.