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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.

     

    patient handing over card

    7. Identify your patients’ benefits and eligibility ahead of time

    Duncan asserts that checking patients’ benefits and eligibility ahead of time is essential, though not that common.

    “It sounds intuitive, but I still run into a lot of offices where they don’t do it because of time,” she says. “They should focus on identifying benefits and eligibility for at least their new patients. Then, focus on those who have big procedures upcoming so that we are confident in our co-payment estimates. If your practice management software automatically checks it or you have it done through an outside service, then you don’t have to worry about the time issue. You’d be able to open your software and have it be right there.”

    She also advises logging in to the insurance company websites regularly to check benefits.

    “The biggest issue I run into is that people don’t know patient benefits and don’t even bother checking on eligibility,” she says. “And they also don’t do it often or consistently enough. That leads to lower confidence in the information given to the patient. That’s where the breakdown happens between the patient and the office. Patients are never happy to receive an unexpected bill.”

    Duncan says that knowing patients’ benefits ahead of time raises the level of customer service in the practice.

    “Hospitals make you sign a million forms to acknowledge that you’ve been given a cost estimate,” she says. “In dentistry, we don’t do that consistently. That leaves your office and the patient open to all sorts of confusion.”

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