Your insurance AR is high. You are sending hundreds of claims to insurance each week, but you are unsure if they are paying you or not. If you’re trying to learn how to improve your billing system, you have probably asked yourself, “when should I work my dental aging report?” The billing process can be tedious, and sometimes doing everything in one day feels impossible. We know because we’ve been there.
As dental billers ourselves, we at Dental ClaimSupport have developed our own system over time and will explain just how often we believe you should work your dental aging report and why.
In this article, we will explain why a dental insurance aging report is a key part of your billing process, how often you should be working it and why. We are here to spread our knowledge of dental billing in hopes that you will be able to improve your collections percentage, and in turn – have a more successful dental practice.
Quick reminder: What is a dental insurance aging report?
The insurance aging report is a list of aged claims. What’s considered “aged” in the dental billing world is claims that were submitted and not yet paid. Most dental claims are paid and should be received in your office within two weeks. The claims can be shown on the insurance company website immediately or within 48-72 hours, depending on the insurance company.
How often should I be sending dental claims?
You should be creating and sending claims within 24 hours of the procedure to avoid an extensive aging report. Sometimes the insurance company has not paid your claim because information entered was incorrect, whether it was a birthdate, patient name, ID number, or even procedure code error. The older a claim gets, the less likely it is to be paid due to insufficient follow up and timely filing periods. Basically, you want to avoid your claim ending up on that aging report. If it can be paid quickly, you can check them off of your list and be done with them.
What does it mean to “work” my dental insurance aging report?
As mentioned above, cash flow is everything to a dental practice (or any place of business!). You have staff to pay and a building to keep open. If someone isn’t checking on this aging report, making sure claims are paid and resolved, your practice is losing potential revenue.
To “work” the aging report, go line by line, claim by claim and insurance company by insurance company. You look at each unpaid claim and while you can contact the insurance company via the web portal, we recommend picking up the phone and speaking to a real person. When you do call, you must give them the following information:
Practice information (i.e., TIN)
Dental provider information
Patient information (name, date of birth, etc.)
Date of service
You should then ask the insurance company the status of the claim. Has it been paid yet? If not, why not? What is needed to get the claim paid?
If the insurance needs more information, you need to get them the information as soon as possible.
Take notes. Record the information in your dental software to include:
The date you worked the claim
The status of the claim
Who you spoke with from the insurance company
A claim reference number if you need to call on the claim more than once.
Any information you needed to resend to them and the date
What if the dental claims are not on file?
Do not just resubmit the claim.
Research WHY the claim is not on file.
Fix the issue.
Step 4 Resubmit the claim.
Sometimes claims are not on file. Sometimes things do get lost in technology and it’s usually something that can be resolved easily.
Reviewing your aging report vs.Working your aging report
These words aren’t exactly interchangeable when it comes to the billing process. Reviewing your aging report is kind of like looking at a piece of paper and seeing that you have $40,000 in claims over 90 days. Working your aging report is actually going through each of these claims, doing the proper research, and calling the insurance company and asking why the claim hasn’t been paid.
If your insurance coordinator is just re-submitting claims instead of calling insurance companies, this will not help get claims paid. There’s likely a reason the claim was not paid originally and needs edits, instead of just a resubmission without making a change to the claim.
How often should I “work” my dental insurance aging report?
You should have someone in your office working your aging report at least once a week, minimum. Make sure every claim is touched and notes are made on ALL outstanding claims. It’s important to have a system in place where someone is in charge of this specifically so that they are aware of any claims that may have fallen through the cracks ASAP. The more you are checking on these unpaid claims, the quicker they get resolved and your practice gets its money.
As an outsourced dental billing company, we have our own system that you might be able to replicate. We typically pull in the aging report every Monday or Wednesday, depending on when your biggest posting day is. Most dental offices are closed on Fridays, but some offices wait until the end of the week to work their dental aging report so that they are ready to go into the next week.
What if I don’t “work” my dental insurance aging report in a timely manner?
If you don’t work your aging report, simply put, your practice doesn’t get paid. How does this happen, you may ask? Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes like to take their time paying your claim. It’s kind of like a claim you know is sitting in limbo, overdue on its payment. Maybe your front desk staff is overwhelmed and doesn’t have time to run this report. Maybe your staff also doesn’t have time to sit on hold with an insurance company, who are already notoriously difficult to communicate with. You may get disconnected! Whew, we know what a pain that can be! These things are all hard to do if you’re also expected to answer phone calls and check in patients.
Not working your aging report in a timely manner can also affect your patients. Say you’re working your aging report, and you catch a payment that just wasn’t paid by insurance for 60 days. It’s been there for two months, and the patient needs to get a bill after the insurance pays. You’ve now set back the patient paying for a month, because you didn’t send them a statement a month ago when the insurance was supposed to pay.
Three months goes by and your patient is probably thinking, “well, I didn’t get any other statement from that visit, I guess it’s over and done with.” And then like seven months later, they get this $280 bill in the mail. Would you appreciate that? Probably not!
Don’t let your dental insurance aging report go unnoticed
An aging report is a record of unresolved, A.K.A. unpaid claims.
Do not let this report grow and – for lack of better words – fester. Keep up with every claim and every payment coming in from insurance companies. This is extremely important to the financial state of your dental practice.