Dentist price comparison on the Internet allowed

Dentist price comparison on the Internet allowed / Health News

Dentist price comparison on the Internet allowed


Dentists may continue to participate in Internet services where patients can compare prices for different dental treatments. This was decided by the Federal Constitutional Court in the judgment: 1 BvR 1287/08.

The Federal Constitutional Court has strengthened the competition between dentists with the recent ruling. Dental physicians can continue to participate in web portals on which a price comparison for dental treatments of various kinds is offered. The federal judges ruled that such a ban would restrict the professional freedom of dentists enshrined in the Basic Law. In early December, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), as the highest civil court in another case, had dismissed a lawsuit against a provider of dentist comparisons. Again, the judges found no reasons that would justify a ban on such sites.

Plaintiff of the procedure was a dentist also Baden-Württemberg, who had previously participated in such a price comparison on the Internet. Then the competent professional court had given the physician a reprimand. Against this the plaintiff defended itself successfully before the highest constitutional court and got in the judgment of Wednesday this week right granted. The reference has been repealed with immediate effect. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, there are no reasons for the common good that could justify such a restriction of the profession of doctors. A participation in price comparison portals is compatible with the occupational freedom of the doctors, so the judges.

Such a portal on the Internet is not contrary to the protection of patients. On the contrary: it "only makes it easier for the user to compare prices and make contact". It is also not "evident that such use of the Internet shake the trust in the dentists, nor that it could lead to uncertainty of patients," said the Federal Constitutional Court.

How does the dentist price comparison work?
Patients can obtain price information for different dental treatments on such portals. Consumers use these services to save on treatment costs, sometimes in the triple-digit range. To get a comparison, the participants will quote their dentist online. The data of the practice and the doctor are thereby anonymized. Now, other dentists can make a non-binding cost estimate based on the published estimate. If a treatment contract is concluded between the physician and the patient, the dentist must pay a fee to the operator of the portal. This is usually determined as a percentage of the treatment costs. As a rule, the costs for the dentist are 20 percent. For the most part, patients do not have to pay any fees and can even save on the cost of dental or jaw care. These are private treatments or treatments that are not covered by the statutory health insurance. (Sb)

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Image: Tobias Bräuning