Alaska Dental Office Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Dental Office Insurance. Dentists are doctors who are educated and licensed to specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, injury, damage, or loss to teeth, gums, and the mouth. Dentists may treat poorly aligned teeth with braces or other devices. They may fill, remove, or replace missing, diseased, or damaged natural teeth with artificial fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, or dental implants.
From general checkups and cleanings to filling cavities and root canals, as a dentist, you provide invaluable services for your patients. Oral health is exceedingly important, and your job is to make sure that the teeth of the patients you treat are strong and healthy.
In addition to providing top-notch dental care, you are also responsible for ensuring your dental office is a safe place for your patients, as well as your staff and anyone who visits your property. Your dental office is constantly abuzz with activity, which is a good thing; but, so much activity means mishaps can happen. As the owner of your office, you are responsible for anything that goes wrong; but, if you have the right Alaska dental office insurance, recovering will be a lot easier.
Alaska dental office insurance protects your practice from lawsuits with rates as low as $57/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Dentist's Offices Need Business Insurance?
All business owners - including AK dentists - need to carry certain forms of commercial insurance. Not only are specific types of coverage mandated, but they provide the protection you, your patients, your staff, and anyone else who steps food on your property needs when accidents arise.
Slips and falls, lawsuits, property damage; these are just some of the risks that dentists face, and the expense can be exorbitant. Legal defense fees, medical care, repair bills; the costs can add up fast. Trying to cover these costs on your own can be impossible and could put you in financial ruin. That's where commercial insurance comes in.
Alaska dental office insurance helps to cover the cost of any mishaps that may arise; for example, if a third-party slips and falls while visiting your dental office, sustains and injury that requires medical care, and files a lawsuit against you, if you're properly insured, instead of having to pay these expenses out of your own pocket, your insurance company will pay them for you. In other words, insurance can help you avoid serious financial trouble and is an absolute must for the owner and operator of a dental office.
Types of Commercial Insurance for Dental Offices
The types of insurance coverage AK dental offices need vary and depend on a variety of factors; the size of the office and where it's located are just some of the factors that will determine exactly what type of insurance coverage you need. However, there are key policies that every dentist's office must have, including:
- Commercial General Liability - This type of coverage protects you from any third-party personal injury and property damage claims that may be filed against you. For example, if a patient trips over an electrical cord while walking through the waiting room, suffers an injury, and files a lawsuit against you, general liability insurance will help to cover the cost of any necessary medical care and legal defense fees.
- Commercial Property - You're also responsible for any damages that your dental office and the contents within it may sustain in fire, a storm, or an act of vandalism. Commercial property insurance covers the cost of any repairs or replacements that may be needed in the event that your office, furniture, or other supplies are damaged.
- Equipment Breakdown - From x-ray machines to sterilization equipment, you rely on various types of costly tools and equipment to treat your patients. If any of your equipment breaks down, the cost of any necessary repairs can be exorbitant. Equipment breakdown coverage helps to pay for the repairs your dental equipment many need if they ever malfunction.
- Workers' Compensation - From hygienists to office assistants, your staff is an integral part of your dental practice. They help you meet the needs of your patients and keep your office running smoothly. If an employee is ever injured while working, workers' compensation insurance will help to cover the cost of medical care. It also replaces any wages that employees may lose if they are unable to work while they are recovering from their injuries.
The above are just some of the forms of commercial insurance coverage you'll need for your dental practice.
Alaska Dentists' Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is moderate due to patients' access to the premises. To prevent trips, slips, and falls, all areas accessible to patients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Steps should have handrails, be illuminated, marked, and in good repair. Parking lots should be maintained free of ice and snow.
Housekeeping should be excellent and spills must be cleaned up promptly. Overhead equipment should be moved before patients exit dental chairs. Maintaining a patient's privacy is critical. Examination rooms, check-in and checkout stations must be in private areas so one patient cannot view information or overhear conversations regarding another patient's' confidential information.
Professional exposures are extensive. The exposure increases if the provider fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employee's credentials, education, and licensing. The more varied procedures that the dentist performs the more chance of professional loss.
Training and safety equipment should be in place to prevent exposure to radiation when performing X-rays. Needles and other equipment must be sterilized and sanitized to prevent the spread of blood-borne infectious diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and AIDS. On-site surgery must be closely monitored, with an experienced trained individual administering and monitoring the use of the anesthetic.
Many dentists handle cases requiring anesthesia in a hospital environment and use the staff anesthesiologist. Finally, inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct must be considered.
Workers compensation exposure is due to the possible transmission of disease from a patient. Gloves and masks should be worn at all times when working with the patient. Employees should have access to vaccinations to prevent diseases. Unruly or unpredictable patients can cause harm including strains, back injuries, and contusions. Dust caused by grinding and exposure to adhesives and other substances can result in occupational injury to eyes, lungs, or skin.
Training and safety equipment should be in place to prevent exposure to radiation when performing X-rays. Since patient information and billings are done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Property exposure is moderate due to the use of expensive diagnostic and dental equipment. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems, and overheating of equipment. All electrical wiring must be up to code and equipment properly maintained. A small fire which produces smoke can cause considerable damage when sterile equipment and environments are compromised.
Target items for theft include gases, pharmaceuticals, and gold used for fillings. These items should be inaccessible for unauthorized use and stored in a protected area after hours. Most property items are better covered on inland marine forms such as a computer form or a physicians and surgeons floater. The business income and extra expense exposure can be minimized if the dentist has arranged for temporary facilities with another dentist.
Equipment breakdown exposures are high as operations are dependent on dental equipment being available. All equipment should be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty of both money and inventory. The potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Background checks should be conducted on all employees handling money. Dentists keep gases, gold, and pharmaceuticals on the premises. Rigid controls must be maintained including inventory control and limited access to storage areas.
All ordering, billing, and disbursement must be handled by separate individuals. Money and securities are a concern if payments are accepted on premises. Deposits should be made regularly and money should not be kept on premises overnight.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable if the dentist bills for services, computers, physicians and surgeons equipment floater (which can include all office furnishings), and valuable papers and records for patients' and suppliers' information. Accounts receivable coverage is needed if the dentist bills for services. Computers are used for patients' records and other office purposes, but some dental equipment, such as video equipment and X-ray machines, is now also computerized.
Physicians and surgeons equipment includes items that the dentist may take off site to handle emergencies. Duplicates of all records and programs should be kept off site.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned liability for employees running errands. Dentists or other personnel may travel to client locations such as hospitals and nursing homes. If there are owned vehicles, all drivers should be licensed with acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
AK Dental Office Insurance - The Bottom Line
To find out what other types of coverage you may require and the amount of coverage you should carry, consult with a reputable and experienced agent that specializes in commercial insurance for dental practices.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Medical Insurance
Discover small business insurance for medical and dental professionals. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability that protects health care professionals from liability causing in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage.
- Ambulatory Surgical Center
- Art Therapy
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Dental Lab
- Dental Office
- Diagnostic Imaging Centers
- Healthcare Facilities
- Home Medical Equipment Dealers
- Marriage & Family Therapy
- Medical Laboratories
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Medical Practice
- Mental Health Counseling
- Occupational Therapy
- Physicians Office
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Speech Therapy
- Substance Abuse Counseling
Health care providers are the most trusted individuals in our society. Ironically, they are the same ones who can do the greatest harm. They actually have the right to invade our bodies with knives and to poison us with chemicals - all in the name of health care and with the goal of relieving our symptoms and hopefully bringing about a cure.
While the actions of these professionals normally benefit us, insurance coverage must be available for the times when mistakes happen and things go wrong. These professionals and their facilities have extensive property exposures that are becoming more and more intricate and whose values are increasing exponentially.
The 'one size fits all' approach that once could have applied to insurance for health care providers and their facilities no longer applies.
Professional liability offers protection against claims of malpractice for all sums that the medical professional becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of rendering or failing to render professional services.
Professional and medical malpractice exposures are the most expensive and difficult of all exposures for health care providers. The commercial general liability policy excludes these exposures so separate coverage is needed. Most professional liability policies are written on a claims-made basis and, as a result, tail coverage and retroactive dates are important coverage issues to be aware of when evaluating the insured’s coverage needs and comparing coverages.
The coverage provided is often called medical malpractice. For decades, many involved in the health care field and insurance companies that provide insurance coverage to providers have stated that malpractice lawsuits have created an ongoing crisis of restricting insurance availability, due to loss of insurance companies that write the coverage and significant rate increases.
As a result, state legislatures have taken the following actions to address the situation:
Imposed a dollar limitation of liability for malpractice suits.
Modified statutes of limitation to limit the number of years that a suit may be brought against a physician following a negligent act.
Modified when the statute of limitations takes effect. An example is beginning from a negligent act's occurrence rather than from its discovery.
Passed laws to modify tort law procedures and doctrines that relate to malpractice.
Because of differences in law by state it is important to know the states in which the covered health care providers are licensed and regularly practice. Some health care providers may practice in multiple states because of their particular specialty, their reputation or the demand for their services. Some hospitals may have ownership in facilities or provide services to patients that are outside of their main location state.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Physicians and Surgeons Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.