4 Ways To Communicate Dental Treatment Costs To Your Patients
There is a way to encourage patients to accept treatment even when it is expensive, reduce the number of patient accounts you send to collections, and increase patient referrals, and this solution may be right under your nose. This solution may be something you have never given much thought to before: taking the time to explain dental insurance to your patients in detail.
Explain Insurance Coverage to Patients More Easily
Finance and cost issues for dental procedures are a sensitive issue. If you have ever cringed inside when one of your patients asked you about whether his or her insurance would cover the procedure you were discussing, chances are you are not alone.
Explaining dental insurance to patients is not easy, since there are many different rules, regulations, and plan changes for each type of insurance. Explaining insurance coverage to a patient incorrectly can result in negative feelings and reduce a patient’s trust in you and your office staff, so your reluctance to talk about insurance is understandable.
But not preparing patients for the true cost of their treatment will only make things worse when they receive their bill from the front desk.
So how can you better explain insurance coverage to your patients? Here are 4 solutions to choose from.
Solution 1: Hire a Financial (Treatment) Coordinator
A financial coordinator is a member of the office staff whose sole responsibility is to explain treatment fees and insurance coverage to patients. The financial coordinator can answer any questions patients have relating to treatment options, treatment alternatives, and fees.
Patients will likely enjoy the attention they receive from the coordinator, case acceptance will be more likely to increase for your practice, and your staff will be less stressed knowing there is someone they can refer patients to when insurance questions come up.
Solution 2: Offer Financing to Patients
You can reduce the need to have insurance discussions in the first place by offering financing to your patients. Offer it to all your patients, even those with insurance, since you often do not know which patients will benefit from financing their treatment.
Working with a finance company can be expensive but you will likely see a higher case acceptance rate, you will spend less money mailing out statements, you will not need to explain insurance plans, and your patients will be much less likely to cancel appointments when they do not have to bring a payment check for your office with them.
Solution 3: Offer Payment Plans
Like financing, payment plans involve working with a third-party company and remove the need to discuss insurance. Unlike financing, payment plans offer coverage for dental treatments with a yearly, no-interest fee. Usually there are no minimum payments, no procedures that are not covered, and no co-pays.
Solution 4: Create a Specific Insurance Discussion Plan for All Office Staff
If the previous solutions do not work for your practice, consider creating a specific plan for all members of your staff that explains how all of you will discuss insurance questions with patients. This plan should be in writing and should explain, in detail, how to answer typical questions and who to refer patients to for further information.
When discussing insurance with patients, remember to:
- Avoid negativity
- Talk face-to-face
- Hold in-depth insurance discussions before or after treatment, not during
- Help patients understand that medical insurance is different from dental insurance
We hope this article has given you some options for talking about dental insurance coverage with your patients.