Dentist treatments at risk for AOK patients?

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Dentist treatments for AOK patients at risk in Berlin?

Because the general local health insurance fund AOK-Berlin-Brandenburg exceeded the annual budget for dental treatment by a whopping 7.6 million euros, AOK patients in Berlin have to expect restrictions in dental care, as the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists in Berlin (KZV) said yesterday.

For 2010, the AOK Berlin-Brandenburg budget for treatments at the dentist has already been used up. Dentists who treat AOK patients should therefore actually waive their fees for the rest of the year because the health insurance does not provide any more money, the doctors' association says. The number of dental treatments provided could not be controlled. Because the more patients suffering from toothache and need a root canal treatment or a filling, the higher the costs. The budget was overdrawn by 12.49 percent (7.6 million euros), although the year is still two and a half months until the turn of the year.

Dental emergencies are treated
The health insurance company assures that the treatments at the dentist are guaranteed. "Emergencies must always be treated," said the AOK. If it is justifiable from a medical point of view, dentists could move the therapies into the coming year. Dental practices, however, should not simply reject patients on the grounds that they are "AOK insured". However, it is more than questionable whether patients can actually check whether they have already been rejected when making an appointment because they are insured with the AOK. However, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians emphasizes that the struggle for higher fees should not be carried out on the back of the patient. "We do not want the battle for fees to be carried out on the back of the patient and we will continue to treat our teeth," said Dr. Jörg-Peter Husemann, himself a dentist and chairman of the dentists' association. As a result, the medical representative called for higher budgets for the coming year to avoid such situations. Husemann pointed out that other local health insurance companies in Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg simply fill up excessive budgets. The AOK Berlin-Brandenburg, however, still refuses to replenish the budgets. (sb, 10/22/2010)

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