3 ways to win with dental insurance

Dental insurance can be confusing, and practices often have different appoaches to it. The important thing is to try to help patients with their insurance as much as possible.

Sep 21st, 2018
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Dealing with dental insurance is a daily reality for most dental practices. Unfortunately, dental practices have had confusing approaches to dental insurance since its inception.

Many still view it as entirely the patient’s responsibility, and I can understand why. It’s confusing and no fun to navigate. But if you take the time to lead your patients through their insurance, you’ll be helping both them and your practice.

Winning with dental insurance

It may seem daunting to deal with dental insurance, but in today’s competitive environment you can’t afford to kick the can down the road. Today’s patients expect much more from their dentists. They want practices to be responsible for their scheduling, treatment, and insurance coverage. If you don’t provide all of these services, some other practice will. The good news is that helping with dental insurance can be a win-win situation for you and your patients.

Follow these three steps to win with dental insurance.

Educate all patients in the practice about their insurance plans

We recommend providing your patients with a simple brochure that explains what dental insurance is, what’s generally covered, what’s generally not covered, how copayments work, and that the plan is a contract between the insurance company and the employer.

Be sure to pair the brochure with a conversation that helps patients understand the realities of dental insurance and shifts responsibility for what’s not covered away from the dental practice and onto the responsible party—the insurance company. This conversation and brochure should be given to every new patient as part of his or her practice orientation.

Help patients understand the practice policy on copayments

Practices have different policies for copayments. Some practices require the entire payment up-front, others require the copayment up-front, and others don’t ask for copayment until after they’ve received the insurance reimbursement. While any of these can be feasible, we recommend collecting copayments up-front and then billing the insurance company for its portion. Whatever your policy is, make sure to educate patients. If you want to collect copayments at the first visit, this should be clearly communicated prior to the day that the copayment is due.

Become an advocate for your patients

Do everything possible to help your patients make the most of their insurance benefits. Check benefit coverage during each patient’s initial visit, and submit their dental insurance claims to help them achieve the maximum reimbursement to which they are entitled.

Dealing with dental insurance doesn’t have to be a losing proposition. Use these three strategies to help your patients understand and get the most from their insurance.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is a third-generation general dentist and the founder and CEO of Levin Group Inc., a dental management consulting firm that has worked with over 26,000 dentists. Dr. Levin, an internationally-known dental practice management speaker, has written 65 books and over 4,300 articles. He is also the executive founder of Dental Business Study Clubs, dentistry’s only all-business study clubs and the next generation of dental business education.

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