09.25.09 Issue #394 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Alert Patients to Benefits and Give Your Practice a Boost
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Fall is in the air. The leaves are changing, football season is in full swing, and we are entering the closing months of this very challenging year. For many of your previously loyal patients, the economy has taken its toll. Those that never missed an appointment in the past may have put off their regularly scheduled hygiene visit or other dental care that they perceived wasn’t absolutely necessary.

These patients have become hyper-aware of their spending habits and although the economic forecast for the coming year is brighter, people are still very focused on spending needs rather than spending wants. And that puts you in an excellent position to remind these patients, who may have put off needed oral hygiene appointments and necessary dental treatments, that in just a couple of months they will lose any unused insurance benefit for 2009. In other words, all those premium payments go down the drain.

Dental insurance companies make millions on patients who do not realize that their plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. But insurance companies certainly aren’t going to remind patients about this, and most patients are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them. So this is your opportunity to send patients a letter notifying them of their unused benefits. The first of October is just one week away and this is the ideal time to begin contacting patients about benefits that will expire at the end of the year. It gives both the patients and your practice plenty of time to get the appointment scheduled and any necessary follow-up treatment taken care of before the busy holiday rush kicks in. Follow these steps to help your patients get the care they need and use the insurance coverage they have paid for:

  1. Generate an “unscheduled treatment plan report.”
  2. Identify those patients who still have unused insurance benefits.
  3. Use the letter I’ve prepared for you below.
  4. Merge the letter into your database. If you have trouble with the merge process, contact your software provider.
  5. Add a P.S. that says, “Take your insurance dollars further with interest-free patient financing. Ask Peggy in my office for all the details.”
  6. Remember, you are doing your patients a favor by helping them to take full advantage of their insurance coverage.

Dear:

Did you know that each year insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forego necessary and preventive dental care? Many individuals who are paying for dental insurance do not realize that their plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Consequently, some patients are not scheduling the dental treatment they need, deserve, and have insurance to cover. Thus, the insurance revenues allocated to pay dental claims on many patients are never used, and, unfortunately, those dollars cannot be carried over year-to-year. The bottom line: what the patient does not use they lose.

Clearly, it pays in many ways to schedule the preventive care or other dental treatment that you need. We are here to help you secure the insurance coverage available to you on every dental procedure you schedule. Our computer estimates that you still have $ xxxxx in unused dental benefits. Give us a call today, and together let's make sure you are in excellent dental health. As a special incentive for you to take charge of your dental care, we are offering a ____% reduction on dental treatment completed by January 1, 2010. Give (name of appointment scheduler) a call at 555-5555. I look forward to seeing you again and sharing some of the many innovative means we now have available to provide you with superior dental health care.

Sincerely,

Dr. Best Dentist in USA

P.S. Find out about additional interest free financing options for dental care. Check with Peggy in my office for all the details.

To round out the effort, the office follows up with an email and a text message to alert the patient that the practice is sending information about their dental insurance coverage and to please watch their mailboxes for details. Or, if you would like to save on postage, send the letter via email and alert patients with a text message. 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.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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