You’re a frustrated office manager or practice owner who sees the dental insurance aging report getting larger and larger… It seems like you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do to keep this from happening, but unpaid claims keep piling up. At this point, you’re just trying to get through the day without letting a claim slip through the cracks.
At Dental ClaimSupport, this is a common frustration we see all the time. It’s something we help with as an outsourced dental billing company, since insurance claims are such a large part of your revenue.
In this article, however, you will learn what to do with a growing aging report before turning to outsourcing or more in-office help.
There are 3 questions you can ask yourself when it comes to a growing insurance aging report. Addressing these questions can not only mend the problem of a growing aging report, but prevent it from happening again.
What's a dental insurance aging report?
An insurance aging report is a report composed of all outstanding dental claims that have been created and sent to insurance companies. These claims have not been paid by insurance, so you’re missing money that you’re owed. These claims are removed from the aging report once they are paid and posted to the patient's ledger. Getting these claims paid usually requires contacting the insurance company (everyone’s least favorite part of the job!)
1. How often is your team posting dental insurance payments?
Every dental practice has their own systems and processes when it comes to dental billing. When the insurance aging report is beginning to grow, one question to ask yourself is: How often am I posting insurance payments?
We see some offices only post their insurance payments once a week. Oftentimes they post these weekly payments towards the end of the week too. The problem with this is that the workload associated with posting insurance payments can be A LOT. If you wait until Friday afternoon to do all of that posting, you may run into a few common issues.
For one, you’re now racing against the clock and may not finish before the end of day or even worse, you may complete the posting but inadvertently have a lot of posting errors and mistakes. Plus, if you spend all day posting, you’ve now pushed off your claim submission until the following Monday. This is a recipe for disaster.
When payment posting is delayed, these types of issues pop up. We recommend posting insurance claim payments within 24 hours of receiving payment. This way, you create consistent cash flow and less errors.
Take a deep dive into how often you should be posting insurance payments in our Learning Center!
2. Are there errors on your insurance claim forms?
Here’s the thing: We’re all human. Errors are inevitable when you're inputting data into any system. Instead of being reactive, let’s be proactive. Slow down when entering patient data from medical history forms into your dental software.
Make sure you have copies of pertinent information like driver's licenses and insurance cards. Is everything completed in full? If not, request the patient complete the entire questionnaire. This will cut down on processing errors when it comes to initial claim submission. Errors such as incorrect birthdates or misspelled patient names can really add up to thousands in unpaid claims!
Are there still errors on your claim forms, even when you're careful? Is it because of the time of day these claims are being batched and processed? Is the person batching the claims missing key attachments or wrong codes due to distractions in the office? Try to ask yourself these questions to get to the root of the problem.
These are all reasons your insurance aging reports continue to grow. Above we mentioned posting insurance payments and sending claims in a timely fashion, within 24 hours or so of the completed procedure. This is also a good way to avoid errors. When the patient’s information and procedure are fresh on your mind, you’re less likely to make a mistake when entering patient and insurance data, and more likely to create clean claims.
Also, when you’re not overwhelmed with other work at the end of the week, trying to get everything done, you’re less likely to make errors.
3. How often is the aging report being worked?
Sometimes the dental insurance aging report can feel like something that isn’t affecting your practice in the moment, so it gets neglected. However, every day a claim ages, your practice is missing out on revenue for costs that the practice has already acquired. You may not see the direct effects immediately, but trust us, you will if you wait too long.
Simply put, researching outstanding claims is a portion of your revenue cycle that you cannot ignore. The insurance aging report should be worked at least once a week. We see some offices do it at the end or at the beginning of the week. It’s important to do this because of how much easier it is to keep track of what claims have not been paid. If these aged claims aren’t too old, it’s easier to get a jump on them and have insurance pay them.
As you know, if you wait too long to follow up with insurance about paying a claim, they are less likely to do so which can result in write-offs for you, which means less revenue.
Having a clear, organized dental billing system in place is the best way to ensure positive cash flow
All of these questions have something in common: they require a system. They’re truly just steps in the dental billing process that are all connected and depend on one another. This might mean having one designated person who ONLY deals with your billing, because that in itself is a full-time job.
Maybe it means outsourcing your dental billing, which is where we can help. But really, you can do it yourself if you follow these steps and keep these tips in mind. To continue your educational journey about the aging report and how you can reduce it, read our article on How to Decrease your Dental Insurance Aging Report.