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Eliminate Dental Insurance Complications

Eliminate Dental Insurance Complications and Become Your Patient’s Hero

Dental insurance can be a win for your patients. Help them reduce or eliminate the confusion about their dental benefits and you’ll be a “hero.”

It’s unfortunate that the insurance conversation can come with hassles. Consider those aggravations an opportunity for you to be your patient’s advocate.

Are you opting out of patient insurance management?

It might be tempting to opt-out and consider dental insurance details to be your patient’s full responsibility. Depending on the nature of your practice, it may be advantageous in some circumstances for you to transfer responsibility for submitting insurance claims to your patients.

To make this happen let’s simplify the process:  

  • Collect payment in full for services up front
  • Prepare insurance claims on behalf of your patients such that they are the payees and hand the patients the completed forms after treatment.

You will then enjoy the great advantages to your practice by freeing your team from the responsibility for insurance receivables management. However, be prepared for a possible substantial reduction in retention of existing patients who may not want to take on insurance responsibility themselves.   

Only If you have a very dedicated patient base will the opt out strategy be potentially feasible for your practice. Otherwise the risk may outweigh the benefits.

Rise above the competition with best-of-class support for your patients

You can’t afford to sit this one out. Dental patient expectations are high.

They trust you to diagnose, present treatment that maintains their health and appearance, treat them for a lifetime of good oral health, and…

Help them maximize their financial resources for payment…including their dental insurance coverage.

Step up and you’ll both win.

How to help your patients understand and get the most benefit from their dental insurance plan

Inform your patients about how their dental coverage works

Up-front, clear communication will educate your patients about what’s otherwise confusing. Realize if you’re initially confused about coverage details they are too!

  • Create an informative brochure or a downloadable document available via your website. Outline an easy-to-read, 101-level explanation of general coverage, how their co-payments work, and what they should expect from their insurance provider.
  • Communicate face to face with your patients about the specifics of their dental benefits package. Not all plans are the same and not everything is covered. Prepare in advance of the conversation so you’re fully informed about their specific insurance plan.
  • Compel them to connect with their dental insurance provider for final confirmation of coverage details. This places the burden on their company not you as their dental services provider.

Invest time clarifying co-payments and patient financial responsibility for treatment

Co-payment policies can differ from dental practice to dental practice. For example, you might require full payment up-front, you might be satisfied with the co-payment portion initially prior to treatment, or you might not ask for any payment or co-payment until their insurance has paid.

All said, it can be to your advantage to have some form of co-payment agreement in place. Communicate this alongside presentation of the treatment plan. Be clear and informative about what is their responsibility (as the patient) and what is to be billed to their insurance company. Clarity and up-front communication will help you avoid “surprises” that can negatively impact your patient relationships.

Initiate the insurance conversation and be your patient’s advocate

Your goal is to provide the treatment your patient needs and desires. Remove any and all barriers from that goal including helping them get the most from their dental insurance benefits.

  • Check their coverage scope and limits prior to their appointment.
  • Submit their insurance claim to enable them to get the full benefit they’re due for treatment.
  • Compel them to use their annual benefits before they expire. Use your dental content streams (email, social media, blog posts, etc) to communicate as the end-of-year approaches.
  • Appoint an insurance point-person on your front-office business team to keep up with insurance industry changes, patient-specific coverage, claim filing, and related follow-up communication.

The patient wins and you win when you become their advocate for dental insurance coverage. Apply these strategies, improvise as necessary, and you’ll achieve “hero” status with your patients.

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The Future of Dentistry with Augmented and Virtual Reality

How VR and AR can and will affect clinical dentistry and the patient experience.

Dentistry is one of the world’s oldest medical professions, dating back as far as 7000 B.C. – so it’s no surprise that we’ve come quite a ways since then.

What many may not have seen coming, however, is how great of an impact emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality would have on the dental field. The effect is quite astounding.

Many dentists, like most people, find themselves a bit fuzzy when it comes to identifying the exact distinctions between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). After all, they’re both interactive,  visually-based technologies. However, they differ greatly when it comes to the user experience.

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Section 179

The popular Section 179 deduction for equipment purchases has been expanded for 2013. As part of The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, passed on January 1, 2013, the maximum deduction limit has been increased to $500,000. This limit is retroactive to purchases made in 2012. The first-year, 50 percent bonus depreciation, has also been extended.

Throughout 2012, the stated limit for the deduction against taxable income for qualifying new and used equipment was $139,000, with a maximum investment limitation of $560,000. For 2013 the deduction was scheduled to drop to $25,000, with a maximum investment limitation of $200,000, and the bonus depreciation would be eliminated. However, the deduction limit has instead been raised to the $500,000 limit that was previously in place for 2010 and 2011, with the maximum investment limitation of $2,000,000.

2013 and 2012 (Retroactive) Deduction Limit = $500,000
2013 and 2012 (Retroactive) Limit on Capital Purchases = $2,000,000
2013 and 2012 (Retroactive) Bonus Depreciation = 50%

Section 179 includes a ceiling that will reduce the deduction when various spending limits are reached. The amount available to be expensed is reduced dollar for dollar for the amount of qualifying capital expenditures in excess of the ceiling. Therefore, the 179 expensing is not available in 2013 and 2012 if qualifying expenditures exceed $2,500,000 ($500,000 + $2,000,000). In addition, Section 179 expense is limited to taxable income and cannot create a taxable loss for the taxpayer.

Section 179 Deduction is available for most new and used capital equipment, and also includes certain software.

Lease expenses also may be available for deductions through Section 179, depending on the structure of the lease.

Bonus Depreciation can be taken on new equipment only (no used equipment, no software)

When applying these provisions, Section 179 is generally taken first, followed by Bonus Depreciation – unless the business has no taxable profit in 2013 or 2012.

*Disclaimer: does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Customers are strongly encouraged to seek and consult their own tax professional advisors for advice on the proper tax treatment of these transactions.

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DDS GP for iPad

DDS GP was featured on an Orlando news segment.

“Dr. Ronald Behner of Behner Dental Partners demonstrates how he uses a new iPad app to better communicate with his patients on Fox 35 News in Orlando, Florida. The interactive app allows him to show colorful digital animations that represent how cavities and gum disease progress, dental reconstruction options and more. ”

Read more on DDS GP for iPad

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