Dental Letter Appears to Deceive Families

Healthplex logoDental insurance provider Healthplex sent a letter to 55,025 families that confused them into believing their children were required to get check-ups. Written to "Parent or Guardian" and quoting a state law, the letter sure sounds like a school directive, but it is not. Rather, the letter encouraging parents to bring their children in for dental exams-and to provide evidence to their school-is the insurance company's marketing approach.

Healthplex letterThe confusion was discovered when school nurses started receiving signed notices verifying that children received check-ups. 

In response to the controversy, Sharon Zelkind, senior vice president at Healthplex, said, "We try to do outreach to get as many children into the dentist as possible." She also admitted, "The wording of the letter was overzealous" and "Now we've learned we shouldn't do it that way."



Discussion Starters:

  • What are the ethical considerations of the Healthplex letter? Evaluate the letter from the perspective of the company, dentists' offices, parents, children, and school officials.
  • What, if anything, should Healthplex do in response to the controversy?