There are few things that challenge modern healthcare on both the provider and patient side quite like managing insurance. Patients find their coverage difficult to understand and dental practices struggle to verify coverage and benefits prior to in office visits. For that reason, patients often rely on their dentist offices to verify their insurance for care and procedures. The insurance verification process should be easy, but instead it’s often lengthy and slow, occupying resources that could be better used to improve office efficiencies and client services.
Still, it’s a necessary task. Insurance verification and pre-approval ensures your dental practice is paid for its services. Finding ways to both improve the process and save resources is, for many dental practices, a top priority.
Most dental offices are still relying on manual insurance verification processes which can be done in a few different ways, each of which is time consuming. One, you have patient information on file, but must go record-by-record to check any patient on the schedule. Or you have to wait until a patient completes a form which includes all their insurance information. Regardless of the pathway, an administrative staff member typically calls or faxes the insurance company. The claims process includes all the steps from the time the patient completes their paperwork through the time staff contacts the insurance company, receives approval, updates information, and processes the claim.
The last thing a dental practice or patient wants is to delay this process any further or have a claim denied. Denied claims not only delay care and frustrate patients, but they also delay cash flow to your dental practice.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges a dental practice faces is the amount of time it takes to manually verify insurance. Many dental offices are already finding themselves short staffed. Most practices dedicate at least one staff member to insurance for at least 20 hours per week. You’re paying a staff member to make phone calls rather than provide support or patient services. You may also be losing money on uncollected payments.
Across nearly every industry or manual process, human error is a concern. From data entry errors to miscommunications and agent errors on the insurance side, human error can add additional time to the process and increase staff and patient frustrations.
How can dental practices simplify and improve the insurance verification process?
1. Verify early
Whether it’s staffing constraints or patient delays, waiting until the day of or day before a scheduled appointment can be a mistake. For instance, it limits staff to checking only new patients or patients with known insurance changes. If there are miscommunications, or other unexpected errors or delays, it may lead to a canceled appointment, unscheduled treatments or worse.
2. Create a thorough, but simple process
First, consider online forms. Manual data entry is one area with potential for human error to complicate the process. When emailed a form or a form is available online, patients can quickly fill it out. Further, many online forms will integrate with your existing practice management system to facilitate the process and improve accuracy.
3. Get a full breakdown of insurance benefits
Keeping dental insurance benefits thorough, and updated, means you can quickly verify whether certain dental services or procedures are eligible through the patient’s insurance.
4. Consider leveraging technology to remove the burden from staff
The newest automated insurance verification software can offer considerable advantages such as:
- Verification in seconds for every patient on the schedule each week (rather than one patient at a time)
- Built-in error reporting for quick resolutions
- More accurate estimates and higher acceptance rates (fewer denials)
- Real-time benefit information and remaining coverage data
- Robust reporting and revenue updates
Any effort that can not only streamline the process, help the patient and support your bottom line is an effort worth making.
Leveraging technology to improve your practice by saving time and resources doesn’t require an IT degree, it requires the right partner. iCoreVerify completes automated insurance verifications - up to 7 days in advance - for every patient on the schedule. iCoreVerify is one of three endorsed products from Partner, iCoreConnect. Book a demo now or call 888.810.7706. VDA members receive substantial discounts on iCoreVerify as well as the other VDA Member Perks endorsed products from iCoreConnect.