5 signs your dental practice needs an insurance billing company
Sometimes, problems or (if you’re an optimist) opportunities arrive that force you to consider making a change. For dentists, problems like staffing or financial strain usually mean changing how their practice is being managed or run. You might be wondering when to hire a dental billing service, for example.
You consider this change for a while, but you’re hoping for the right moment to come where the change feels right.
As a dental billing company, it’s easy for us to say it’s always a perfect time to outsource your insurance billing. Truly though, through the years, Dental ClaimSupport has seen key moments when those in private practice decide it’s best to hire a dental billing company.
In this article, you will learn 5 specific instances in which it would be a smart strategy to outsource your dental insurance billing. You will learn how outsourcing will help fix insurance claim problems or ease transitions of whatever change is happening at your dental practice. You will walk away knowing if outsourcing your insurance billing fits the bill to elevate your current billing process.
1. You’re starting a dental practice from the ground up
Let’s start at the beginning, literally! You might be thinking, “If I’m just getting started with a newly purchased dental practice, shouldn’t I get everything else in order before I start outsourcing my billing?”
Of course, there are logistical things you need to get in order. You need staff, you need equipment, a tax ID number, and a bank account. However, an efficient billing process should also be one of the first things you figure out. After all, for many independent dentists, insurance revenue is a big factor to keep your practice running.
It’s never too early to find experts to help you establish a streamlined billing system
We see practices come to us with messy aging reports and low collections as top problems to solve. Lucky for you, if you’re starting from scratch, you have a clean slate. You could approach a dental billing company before you have thousands in outstanding claims to collect.
The expert billers will help you create a straightforward, efficient billing process that will set your practice up for success. Installing this streamlined billing process at your practice from the beginning is going to have you collecting close to 100% of your insurance claims from the moment your doors open.
2. Your dental insurance collection rate is below 98% and your aging report is high
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks of outsourcing their insurance billing as an option when they start their dental practice. But if your reports show either of these red flags, you have a great opportunity to improve their numbers through outsourcing.
A low collection rate = less than 98% of insurance claims are paid
A high aging report = unpaid claims over 30 days makes up over 10% of your aging report
If you keep seeing denied insurance claims and don’t always have time to work through the aging report, these are also telling signs. This means your billing process is actually costing you earned income and you need to do something about it.
If you’re collecting less than 100% of insurance claims, a change should be evaluated
It sounds kind of harsh. Obviously, no dental practice gets paid for every single insurance claim. But think about this: The national average insurance collections percentage is 91%, or a 9% loss of earned revenue every year.
That’s $90,000 for each $1 million in revenue. And there’s no real reason you shouldn’t be collecting almost 100%.
It’s a great opportunity to ask yourself (and an office manager you trust) “What is our current process for creating, batching, and sending insurance claims? How often is our insurance aging report being worked? Why do our claims keep being denied?”
Keeping up with claims, appeals, and working the aging report - all at the same time - is nearly impossible to do in a busy dental practice. Having a remote expert dedicated to your insurance billing eliminates distractions and keeps this work moving forward, even when your office is closed.
An expert biller also helps avoid mistakes on claims that lead to denials, because they tap into an entire pool of knowledge from co-workers. And they don’t have anything else on their plate except your office. This expert will also have the time and specialized knowledge to appeal denied claims to get you paid by insurance.
Remote billers are solely focused on your dental office’s claims, so they are less likely to make errors compared to an in-house team member who may have other responsibilities or distractions that can lead to errors on claims.
3. Your write-offs are high
As insurance claims are repeatedly denied, your collections and overall revenue numbers are going to keep decreasing. The longer insurance claims aren’t paid, the more likely they’ll never be paid. This forces your practice to write off what you can’t collect, and your revenue takes a hit.
If you’re beginning to notice more and more write-offs in your dental software, it’s certainly time to consider a change. Why aren’t you able to collect money from claims? The truth is probably that claims have been denied, and appealing denied claims takes time and expertise that you don’t currently have.
Getting insurance claims appealed is time-consuming
You have fewer write-offs when your appeals process is thorough. Appealing denied insurance claims means you have to call the insurance company and figure out why a denial happened and how to fix it. This is something outsourced dental billing companies are experts in.
Appeals require backtracking and researching where the claim went wrong in the first place.
Remote billers know the appeals game like the back of their hand, and they know the tricks and strategies to have claims reimbursed by insurance companies. They also have the time to get this work done so that you don’t have to keep writing off what you’re owed.
4. You’re having issues with your dental staff
We’ll say it until we’re blue in the face: a dental billing company’s purpose is to help your dental team, not replace them.
However, if someone is struggling to keep up with insurance billing because they have other responsibilities in the office, that is an opportune time to explore outsourcing. It’s a hard job, and if you can’t put your full attention on it, you will make mistakes.
So when you send the mundane, frustrating work of insurance billing to remote experts, you free your desk staff to focus on patient check-in, scheduling, answering phones, verifying insurance, patient billing, and even growing your practice.
Learn why you should keep your patient billing in-house in our Learning Center.
An outsourced dental billing company will be able to help your front desk run more smoothly
From an outside perspective, a dental billing company can see things your dental team might not notice or tell you.
These things could range from how they handle patient billing to if a staff member is exhibiting some sketchy behavior. Unfortunately, dental billing is a target for embezzlement because small amounts of money are relatively easy to take without being noticed.
If your staff isn’t handling certain parts of the billing process well, the remote billers will be able to notice even though they aren’t in the office. It will show up through claim mistakes and denials that your billers will work to appeal.
If someone on your staff is handling money irresponsibly or illegally, your remote billers are going to see it. They spend a lot of time looking at your dental practice’s numbers, making sure things add up and make sense. If something is out of place (like $50 here and there), they will notice and tell you right away.
If this hasn’t necessarily happened yet, and if you like knowing that someone always has your back and is vested in providing a clean billing process, it’s the right time to consider outsourcing.
5. You are seeing patients drop off
This is highly related to the patient billing we mentioned before. If you’re seeing an increase in the number of patients leaving your practice, you not only need to take a look at your current administrative team but also look into outsourcing.
A billing company ideally handles insurance billing so you have accurate numbers to handle patient billing. Dental ClaimSupport specifically, does not handle patient billing. How your patient billing is handled directly affects how your insurance billing is handled. If incorrect information is collected from patients, and inaccurate claims are sent, they’re going to be denied.
And you might end up sending your patient an extra bill in the mail. This makes for an unhappy patient.
Insurance verification and how it is performed affects insurance claims being paid
Step one in the billing process is making sure a patient’s insurance benefits are active and you know what procedures are covered in their policy. If your team doesn’t have this information, and your patient comes in thinking their insurance covers more than it does, they’re going to be angry when they get an unexpected bill.
If you’re seeing patient collections decrease, it might be because patient billing and insurance verification isn’t being handled efficiently. A dental billing company can help guide you to handle insurance verification in-house. Keeping verification in-house leads to fewer claim denials, happier patients, and more money for your practice.
Make the right move for your dental practice and its revenue
Outsourced dental billing is not for everyone - but is a great solution for private practice dentists who want to remain independent by raising insurance income and lowering their stress. An efficient, accurate claims process can improve your dental practice in more ways than one.
It can start a new dental practice off on the right foot, increase your collections, decrease your aging report and write-offs, and help you run a clean, compliant billing process that gives you tremendous peace of mind.
As we said, anytime is the right time to consider outsourcing your dental billing. And there are 5 most opportune times. Dental ClaimSupport helps dental practices face all of these obstacles or transitions. We can even give you some consult-type advice on how to best manage your billing system as a whole.
To learn more about what kind of strategic and smart revenue goals your dental practice should have to collect more, visit our Learning Center.
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