Time to Give Thanks … to the Insurance Companies
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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This Thanksgiving give your patients something they can truly appreciate – their dental insurance. I know that sounds like an oxymoron. You’re more likely to use the words “insurance” and “frustrations” in the same sentence than you are “insurance” and “appreciate.” Nonetheless, this time of year you can help your patients maximize their insurance benefits, which is something you’ll both be thankful for.
Many dental insurance plans are just sitting there with benefits unused and poised to go to waste as soon as the clock strikes midnight December 31. In fact, dental insurance companies count on making millions of dollars off of patients who never use their insurance benefits because unbeknownst to the consumer, many of these plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. But insurance companies certainly aren’t going to encourage customers to use benefits, and most patients are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them. So it’s up to dental practices to get the word out to patients and fast.
You could send them a letter to inform them of their unused benefits, but this time of year patients are getting a lot of junk mail and you don’t want your message to get tossed into the “I’ll get to it after the holidays pile.” So you need to do something to ensure that your message gets noticed and your letter is opened. This is where Elexity comes in. I’ve talked about the many patient communication options available through the Elexity Patient Management system before, and this system is the perfect tool for informing patients of unused insurance benefits. It’s fast, efficient, and best of all your patients will take notice.
Here’s how it works. First identify those patients with unused insurance benefits who are in need of treatment or preventive care. With the help of the Elexity Patient Management System, the doctor or office manager pre-records a personal message from the practice letting the patient know that they have unused benefits and encouraging them to schedule an appointment.
For example, “Our computer estimates that you still have unused dental insurance benefits available to you. Unfortunately, you will lose those benefits if you do not use them by the end of the year. We want to help you secure the insurance coverage available to you on every dental procedure you schedule, and this is an excellent time to take care of any hygiene visits or dental treatments that you might have been putting off. Give us a call today, and together let's make sure you get the treatment you need in time for the Holiday Season. As a special incentive for scheduling your appointment, we are offering a free home whitening kit if your treatment is completed by December 31, 2007. Please call (give phone number and name of appointment scheduler) to schedule your appointment.”
Over a period of a couple of weeks, phone calls are placed automatically to all of the patients identified as having unused insurance benefits. The calls appear on the patient’s caller I.D. to come directly from the practice, but Elexity handles the details, which means - aside from taking a short amount of time to record a message - doctor and staff have to do absolutely nothing, except scheduling and treating patients that is. In addition, the Elexity system enables the practice to send an email to the patients that reinforces the telephone message. Once again, the message appears to come from the practice, but Elexity handles the details, so there’s no drain on staff resources.
To round out the effort, the office follows up with a personal letter detailing the unused benefit amount available to the patient and any specific treatment that remains diagnosed but not scheduled. The letter further encourages the patient to give themselves the gift of good oral health this season while making the most of those unused insurance benefits. Patients appreciate the fact that their dental office would take the time to inform them of this unused benefit. They don’t like wasting money any more than you do.
Next week, ensure patients are thankful for you and your team throughout the coming year.
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