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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Last modified: January 30, 2019