The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not understanding the insurance picture in the practice

January 28, 2016

"We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?” Dr. Roger P. Levin explores the biggest mistakes that dentists make-and how those mistakes can be avoided. In this edition, Dr. Levin discusses dental insurance policies.

Based on his extensive experience with dentists over the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the book.

Levin Group has worked with more than 25,000 clients over the past 30 years, and in that time we’ve watched the dental insurance scenario change dramatically. In the 1980s, most dental insurance policies were indemnity plans with fairly reasonable reimbursements. We then went through the period of capitation and entered the era of the PPO. The dental field is now dominated by PPOs, and reimbursements continue falling far below fee-for-service levels. The impact on dental practices today is intense.

More from Dr. Levin's book: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Living above your means

Many dentists haven’t made the effort to fully learn about dental insurance. They sign contracts without reading or understanding them or having their attorney review them, and they agree to comply with the insurance company’s rules. Not having studied their own mix of accepted plans or how each plan affects practice revenue, dentists don’t even know which plans are good or bad for their practice.

Accepting dental insurance plans has become commonplace, but doing so without proper analysis is a mistake. What percentage of practice revenue derives from insurance? What percentage does each plan contribute? How does each plan compare with others? If you analyze your insurance picture, you’ll probably discover that some plans should be jettisoned and others embraced.

More from Dr. Levin's book: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not setting goals

Another problem: if a significant number of the new patients coming in the door are actually insurance patients, with low reimbursements and significant limitations, you may need to add more new patients, build the fee-for-service side of your practice, or market to prospective patients with better insurance plans. In other words, to develop the best growth strategies for your practice, you must first take a close look at your insurance picture.

The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make has now been published and a digital download is available here for just $59.

Save $50 on doctor tuition for Dr. Levin’s latest seminar. Register 30 days in advance for his seminar in Kansas City on March 31 or Boston on April 8 and use code DPM50 to receive your discount. For details and to register, click here.