As a dental provider, it's important to have as much of an all-inclusive policy as possible regarding patients. It's good to try to help all of those who need it. The problem that dentists run into when trying to accommodate everyone, however, is financial availability and insurance. In order to help everyone, patients who don't have insurance need to be accepted, as well as those who do have access to it. The question is does accepting insurance hurt or help your practice?
The Helping Part
Accepting insurance at your practice will certainly bring more patients in. It is inevitable that, if you decide to exclude patients who use insurance to pay for their visits, you'll be missing out on a good percentage of people. If you accept insurance, you'll bring in those who have it, and those who do not, as well. If bringing in the most patients available is your goal, then there's no doubt that it's a good path to take.
Furthermore, accepting insurance will likely help your practice’s image. It can convey your willingness to be accommodating. Including patients with insurance will show you are accepting and welcoming, and that would be a positive message to send out to the community.
The Hurting Part
Some people have the opinion that insurance is ruining medicine, including dental care. If you accept insurance into your practice, there could be those that avoid you because they'll have the (incorrect) impression that you offer substandard care as a result. With a lot of potential patients thinking that insurance companies will dictate their care, and subsequently only cover the cheapest and least thorough options, they may move on to a business that does not accept it.
Also, accepting insurance can lead to unhappy patients due to the coverage (or lack of it) that insurance companies offer. Patients can get upset when they find out that their procedure isn't covered entirely by insurance, and, by default, may put the blame on you and your practice when they have to break out their wallets.
As with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to accepting insurance at your practice. Individual needs, from practice to practice, vary depending on your preferences. You'll know what works best for you in your particular setting. The best way to decide whether or not you should accept insurance is to research and weigh what is most important to you, your patients and your overall practice.