Insurance Strategies Insurance Strategies

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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.   

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Hygiene Codes to Maximize Insurance Benefits

Picture this: your hygienist has a full day of patients. A couple of S/RPs, a couple of new patients, and some nice recalls. Ahh… it’s a beautiful thing.

But wait! What’s that I see here? She hasn’t been using the correct CDT codes for her procedures. Oh no! Poor coding is about more than just lost revenue; it can lead to benefit claims bouncing back and over- or under-treatment.

We should periodically sit down with our hygiene teams and discuss treatment philosophies, like when to refer to a periodontist or how often a full mouth probing should be done. A super important part of this conversation is which codes can be used and when.

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Collecting Co-Pays and Deductibles

Are your front desk personnel trained to collect patient co-payments and deductibles at time of service? Do they know the amount of receivables due from each patient and their insurance company? If not, your practice could be losing a significant amount of income. Studies show that collecting payment from patients at the time of service maximizes your collection percentage and decreases collection costs. Taking steps now to collect every dollar earned will prevent your profits from slipping through the cracks. This article offers strategies to successfully collect payments at time of service and is geared towards helping your front desk staff achieve winning performance.

Attitude is Everything

A patient’s first impression of your practice is their front desk experience. Your staff should be greeting patients by name, while presenting a professional attitude and appearance. They should be polite, and possess strong customer service and communication skills. Front desk staff must feel comfortable asking for co-pays and deductibles and indicate that payment is expected at the time of service. Their attitude needs to be friendly, yet firm. The dentists in the practice need to be supportive of the collection policy and refer all discussions regarding financial matters to the appropriate personnel, rather than discussing with the patient. Your office should have a clear, written financial policy, which should specifically state when you expect payment. This will empower your front desk personnel and send a clear message to patients.

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Clinical Excellence = Business Success? My story.

I worry about dental students, new graduates, and those in their early years of practice. Are they as naïve nowadays as was I a few decades ago?  I hope not, but chances are that many will have difficulty finding their way in the first few years (perhaps much longer) for lack of business knowhow.  I wonder how other dentists with extensive practice experience, looking back, would rate their preparedness for the real world of dentistry upon graduation.

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