Telehealth has been around for decades now, but it’s proliferated in the wake of the pandemic.
The adoption rates have been climbing while people do everything they can to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
SmileDirectClub has long promoted dental telehealth and its business model attracted the attention of a variety of partners. The company is excited to expand its treatment options to the 20 million individuals enrolled through dental plans at MetLife.
MetLife partnered with SmileDirectClub to provide in-network coverage for the company’s innovative oral care. While MetLife might be best known for life insurance, millions of people count on their networks for everything from teeth cleanings to orthodontic needs.
MetLife will make SmileDirectClub accessible to customers beginning in early 2021. MetLife has a wide variety of participants across its many plans, many of whom would benefit from SmileDirectClub’s clear aligners.
SmileDirectClub’s innovative treatment is now covered by a majority of US insurers, giving more customers the options they need to make better decisions. Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield all offer access to SmileDirectClub as a part of their plans.
How It Works
SmileDirectClub created a telehealth platform for customers who wanted to straighten their teeth without the need for traditional braces. The company offers clear aligners that can be conveniently worn to straighten teeth and correct the bite.
There are three ways for MetLife plan participants to get started with SmileDirectClub:
- Visit a SmileShop to have a 3D scan taken
- Visit a SmileDirectClub Partner Network-affiliated dentist or orthodontist office
- Order a doctor-prescribed at-home impression kit
Regardless of how a customer gets started, their progress is always monitored by a licensed practitioner from start to finish. It’s all made possible by the teledentistry platform available through SmileDirectClub.
ADA teledentistry guidelines
The increased demand for telehealth services has caused healthcare providers, insurers, and consumers to quickly shift their expectations. Providers have had to figure out how to offer everyday services without being able to see the customer. Insurers have had to figure out what to cover and how to reimburse.
Professional associations also had to address the growing concerns across the board. The American Dental Association recently announced its guidelines when it comes to teledentistry. This announcement was a relief for practitioners who were puzzling over how to invoice and communicate with their insurance partners.
The new guidelines stipulate that insurer reimbursement must be at the same rate as in-person reimbursement. This includes reimbursement for teledentistry codes. The ADA made its decision based on the quality of care provided via telehealth platforms. If a customer is getting the same level of service when they visit as a dentist, there’s no reason to discount the practitioner’s time and expertise.
Platforms like SmileDirectClub have made it possible for the ADA to champion the quality of care received via telehealth. With an innovative teledentistry platform, like the one offered through SmileDirectClub, dentists can see the progress of the customer and make expert recommendations based on how they’re responding to treatment.
The mission of SmileDirectClub
The goal of SmileDirectClub is to democratize access to dental healthcare by promoting telehealth.
There are billions of people in need of oral care, with just a small fraction actually receiving it. It’s a difficult statistic to swallow in our modern age. This company is using technology to empower the average person to take control of their oral health. Whether they live too far away from a provider or their daily schedule offers limited leeway, now customers can work around the barriers by logging into their SmileDirectClub account.
Real solutions for real people
This company was created in an effort to disrupt the industry so customers could have all the facts at their fingertips before making long-term health decisions. Straight teeth give people more than just the confidence they need to smile. A healthy smile means that brushing and flossing will be easier for the customer, reducing the odds of everything from abscesses to tooth decay.
SmileDirectClub has hit a winning formula for its customers, especially considering how much of a time commitment braces are. This standard in the industry requires multiple appointments to fit, adjust, and remove the hardware. Customers need to live with permanent metal on their teeth for months on end, and braces are notoriously difficult to clean. This is all in addition to financing the whole endeavor.
SmileDirectClub has made the Club Member experience its top priority, allowing the company to reach more people and drive sales. The company’s goals are aligned with industry shifts that show more and more people feel comfortable turning to technology for answers.
MetLife is just one more partner in a long list that understands how SmileDirectClub can improve a customer’s standard of care.