Santa Monica Company Brighter.com Delivers Free Dental Insurance Alternative
Posted Jul. 23, 2013, 9:04 am
Chaya Himmelman / Mirror Intern
It can safely be said that going to the dentist is, more often than not, an unpleasant experience. Aside from the terror that accompanies cavity fillings and root canals, one of the most unpleasant aspects of the dentist can be the exorbitant cost of certain procedures.
For Jake Winebaum, CEO of Brighter.com, the lack of transparency in the dental market and patients’ inability to afford certain procedures, served as the impetus behind his company.
Winebaum said the idea for the company started after a dinner with his father-in-law who told him he needed $7500 worth of dental work that was not going to be covered by his insurance.
“After looking online I discovered that I couldn’t find any information on pricing for dental procedures,” he said. “I found that my father-in-law was not alone as nearly 50 percent of Americans don’t have dental insurance. Most seniors don’t, many families don’t, and they are therefore forced to buy dental care without the benefit of any price transparency or negotiating leverage.”
Winebaum knew there had to be a better way for people to pay for their dental procedures.
With this newfound knowledge about the lack of transparency in dentistry, Brighter.com was born.
Brighter.com, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a free online platform that has partnered with more than 400 dentists in the Los Angeles area to provide people with affordable dental care.
The company serves both the insured and uninsured alike.
Brighter.com discounts up to 53 percent off regular procedures.
“It’s a simple free alternative to dental insurance,” Winebaum said. “While insurance charges a premium, we provide access to those prices for free.”
The company works in the same way as an insurance company: providing negotiated fees for patients.
Winebaum said the difference between his company and an insurance company, however, is that all the same benefits are accessible without the hassle and the premiums.
Brighter.com also solves an issue that many dental patients face: not knowing what a procedure will cost until moments before it is about to be performed.
“People have no idea what something is going to cost until they are seated in the chair, which is not a great place to negotiate,” Winebaum said.
After becoming a member of Brighter.com free of charge, prospective dental patients can take advantage of the site’s pre-negotiated reduced rates.
By simply typing in a zip code on the website’s search engine, patients can find prices for procedures at conveniently located dental offices.
Winebaum said that having a company like Brighter.com to support patients further reduces the stress of dental visits.
“Everything is backed up with a money back guarantee, so if you are at all dissatisfied with anything about the experience, we’ve got your back,” Winebaum said.
Having just launched last month, Brighter.com has already seen widespread success for both dentists and patients.
The dentists that work with Brighter.com are hand selected based on patient reviews, certification, and education.
“Within a five mile radius of Santa Monica, we have 60 dentists and we have 11 within the Santa Monica city limits,” Winebaum said. “These are great dentists and they have an average Yelp rating of 4.5.”
From a patient’s point of view, the response has been quite positive.
Winebaum believes the main reason people avoid the dentist is fear of the tremendous cost.
“When you have a market without price transparency, it causes people to be afraid of going to the dentist,” Winebaum said. “Brighter.com, however, allows people to not only see pricing, but also allows patients to see videos of the dentists so they get to meet the dentist beforehand.”
Regardless of where a patient is located in Los Angeles, the Brighter.com experience will be the same.
“We will have great local dentists, we will have fair pricing that will save you 30 to 50 percent of what you would typically pay by just walking in to the dentist,” Winebaum says.
Pricing, however, differs quite dramatically within Los Angeles.
Winebaum said that just within Santa Monica the average variance on the six most common procedures is 300 percent.
“If you walk down one block you can be charged a huge difference in price, but you wouldn’t know that before Brighter.com,” he said.
In Santa Monica the cost for a porcelain crown varies from $795 to $1,800 within only a 1.5-mile radius.
Brighter.com strives to solve this issue by giving patients the information they need to make the best possible dental decisions.
For more information, visit www.brighter.com.