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    8 ways to make insurance less of a pain

    Insurance can be frustrating for any practice, but these tips can put you and your patients at ease.

     

    Receptionist

    6. Have a knowledgeable insurance coordinator

    Dr. Blair says that it takes more and more sophistication to run the front desk, so having a well-equipped team there to handle the business side of the dental practice is essential.

    “I have a receptionist in my office who knows all of the insurance companies, their pricing and their coverage, down to some of the individual plans in my state,” Dr. Kennedy says. “I think that alleviates a lot of communication issues with the patient if you can say, ‘I’m going to connect you with so-and-so. She knows your insurance inside and out and if there is something she doesn’t know, she’ll help you find it.’ Having that person makes it easier on the patient and the doctor and ensures that when you submit all of the information to the insurance company, you’re reimbursed in a timely manner.”

    Unfortunately, many practices don’t have an official insurance coordinator. Instead, they lump in the duties of an insurance coordinator with the rest of the duties that the front desk manages.

    “There are very few people who take any kind of training because there is limited training,” DiGangi says. “They learn what they think they know about dental benefits from articles, speakers, the internet and social media, and all of those contain misinformation.”

    Related article: 3 keys to training a new employee

    Because the CDT codes are owned by the ADA, one must be licensed to write or speak about them in an educational capacity. DiGangi is licensed.

    “People say all kinds of things from the podium, but it’s not necessarily accurate because nobody polices it,” she says. “There’s a lot of missing information from which we create our treatment plans, which is unethical. A treatment plan shouldn’t be based on coverage. And if someone creates or doesn’t code accurately or changes the code just to increase insurance payments, that could be fraud. Whether it’s by accident or ignorance, it’s still fraud.”

    She says that, in order to make the process better, there needs to be a better understanding of how it works now.

    “We need to understand the system versus fighting the system,” she says. “We spend more time fighting and complaining instead of getting involved in it and trying to understand it so that it can be fixed — because it needs to be fixed.”

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