Approximately 187 million Americans, or 60 percent of the population, have dental benefits. This means that the majority of your patients need insurance to help pay for their treatments—and it also means they need your dental office to file their insurance claims and answer their insurance-related questions.
Understanding the ever-changing insurance landscape may not be a part of your staff’s job descriptions, but it’s important for you and your staff to understand how dental insurance works and the role it plays within your practice. Yes, it’s still your patient’s responsibility to know her own insurance coverage and benefits, but if you don’t make the effort to help your patients with their insurance, you better believe they’re going to find a dental office that will.
You have two options:
- Find, hire, and train an insurance guru.
- Find a practice manage software, like Easy Dental, that does the work for you.
The two things to consider with these options are the time and expense involved with both.
Interviewing, hiring and training a new staff member takes weeks and costs thousands of dollars. And that’s not even taking into account yearly salary and benefits for new hires.
On the other hand, it may take you a couple of weeks to research and find the right practice management software for your office. But every staff member will use the software, it only takes a few hours to learn and feel comfortable using it and it will save your practice hours of time each day in the long run. Time saved is money saved, and a monthly fee for software is a lot cheaper than a monthly salary for a new employee.
Dental practice management software with the right insurance features streamlines your insurance processes and rids your staff of insurance management-related stress.
One way to more effectively manage your insurance process is by using software to divide the tasks into three timeframes:
- Before the patient comes into your office
- During the patient’s office visit
- After the patient leaves your office
Before the Patient Comes Into Your Office
It takes hours of back-and-forth conversing with your patients and their insurance companies to get a patient verified. Rather than spending that time during a patient’s visit and tying up your phone lines, get your patients verified before their appointment.
When a new patients call, ask them for a date of birth and insurance card ID number. When returning patients call, double check that their insurance information is the same, and if it isn’t, verify their new information.
Dental software allows you to perform eligibility verification in real time and complete automatic insurance eligibility uploads. Doing so saves you time, ensures claim information is accurate before submission, detects more accurate copays and deductibles and allows your staff to be a knowledgeable resource of insurance information.
During the Patient’s Office Visit
The moment patients walk into your office, you should already know their eligibility, and your dental software should let you quickly confirm all their insurance benefits and determine whether they owe a copayment for their treatment.
You also need to file patient insurance claims daily while patients are in the office, as well as prepare any supporting documentation that has to be submitted with patient claims.
Electronically sending patient claims and supporting documentation, such as digital X-rays or perio charts, via your dental software is the only way to go. You submit claims faster and avoid common human error with electronic submissions. Plus, most insurance companies use an electronic system these days.
After the Patient Leaves Your Office
Your job isn’t over once the patient leaves your office; there’s still work to be done such as follow up and track the patient claims you’ve filed.
Your dental practice management software should have a reports feature that generates insurance-related reports and gives claims status updates in real time. There are certain reports you should review every day, some every week and others every other week. Review these reports regularly to see if anything is missing from a claim and to monitor all your unpaid claims.
Easy Dental’s insurance tools, Insurance Manager and eClaims are the tools you want in your office repertoire. Our tools make it easier and faster to verify a patient’s insurance eligibility, file patient insurance claims and ensure you get paid on time.
Dealing with insurance companies is stressful and time-consuming. But you don’t need to hire an expensive insurance guru to properly manage your insurance processes. All you need is the right practice management software that is complete with powerful, easy-to-use insurance features. With dental software on your side, you’ll streamline your insurance processes in no time, saving you time and increasing your bottom line while also allowing you to focus more attention on your patients.