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Cosmetic Dentist Gives Patients Alternative to Traditional Insurance

A Manhattan dentist joined the profession to change peoples' lives. Now he's working on changing the payment model for oral healthcare.
Ed Rabinowitz
PUBLISHED: Thursday, October 6, 2016

That’s when Afora was born.

An Insurance Alternative

Rappaport and his wife recently launched Afora, a premier dental care membership plan that offers members access to an extensive network of trusted providers who charge a flat fee for services from cleanings to implants.

“We’ve been keeping close notes over the past few years any time someone would mention [an oral health professional] they were happy with,” he says. “We tested it out with maybe 10 to 15 dentists around the city, and in the last couple of months we’ve grown the network significantly.”

Getting dental professionals to agree on a fee schedule can be challenging, but Rappaport says he operated under the principle of getting input from people he trusts. He met with general practitioners throughout Manhattan, and for about two years tested the plan to see how it would be received.

“We got member feedback,” he says. “We got provider feedback. And we decided on a fee schedule that we believe is right for this market; for general dentistry now. And we’re in the final stages of putting together a specialist fee schedule.”

And, Rappaport adds, the financial benefits for dentists are significant. Patients are able to save as much as a third of the cost for the highest quality network of dental professionals and care.

“Our fee schedule is in line with the best paying dental insurance plans out there,” he says. “The only difference being you’re not dealing with a third party. You’re not dealing with maximums, and you’re not dealing with co-payments. The money is coming directly from the patient to the dentist. So we’re just setting up that relationship.”

In other words, transparency.

“Members can feel confident that if they’re seeing any dentist on the plan, the price is going to be exactly the same for the same service,” Rappaport says. “It takes the pricing consideration out of it, and you can build a nice relationship with your dentist.”

Giving Back

Rappaport attended New York University’s School of Dentistry, which is where he met his wife. It’s also where he got his first taste of volunteering in Nicaragua.

“It was an outreach program started by a close friend of ours,” he explains. “We were lucky enough to be part of that first trip.”

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