Insurance outsourcing: Is it right for your dental office?
Outsourcing dental insurance may not be for all dental practices, but it has worked wonders for the office where office manager Laura Hatch works. Find out if it's a good fit for your dental practice.
We get a lot of questions about insurance outsourcing. Insurance is one of the biggest headaches in the office and can be the cause of much stress and anxiety for the front office team. There are several companies that offer insurance outsourcing, and my office started working with eAssist over a year ago. It has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made to reduce stress and help the front office run more efficiently.
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What you need to know about insurance outsourcing, and what happens when you get started
When we decided to outsource, we weighed the costs compared to keeping it in house. Here is how we justified it. We looked at it like the cost of an additional employee, but without the additional cost associated with an employee. We did not have to cover sick time, insurance, vacation, time off, or employment taxes. The result completely freed up our existing staff to handle patients’ issues, the schedule, treatment presentations, and other key components to build a thriving office, while letting the new company handle the insurance.
What’s changed? Our outstanding insurance claims have gone down and our collections have gone up. Because outsourced insurance is paid as a percent of collections, the company is not only motivated to get claims paid fast, but they know when to fight a claim that should have paid or should have paid more. They understand the ins and outs of insurance entirely, and can ensure we’re getting paid on time and what we’re owed. They oversee the claims we submit and verify that the codes are correct. When items are returned that need more, they email us to get more information or narratives from the dentists to send to the insurance company.
When we started, I explained in detail what I wanted. We have two eAssist representatives supporting our office, and I went over with them how I want write-offs handled and how I want coverage books updated when we receive payment. They are now my go-to for any insurance questions so our team no longer has to guess. We can get real answers from the reps because they conduct research and find out what we need to know. We recently had some turnover in the office and I’m currently training new staff, but I don't have to worry about insurance anymore because we never miss a beat since we outsourced it.
4 reasons I suggest outsourcing your dental insurance
Control—As you know, embezzlement in our industry is an issue. In my opinion, outsourcing this part of the dental practice is one step toward protecting us and our interests. I know this does not guarantee we won’t experience embezzlement, but having someone outside the office handling the insurance money without physically touching the check seems to diminish temptation. It keeps our office staff honest because they’re aware there is a third party watching the insurance claims going out and checks coming in, so there’s an increased chance someone will catch anything suspicious.
More focus from the staff—Dental employees get sucked into the insurance game and often can't get out. They get on the phone and spend hours with insurance companies, which is not fun and can frustrate the team, and that attitude projects to patients. I prefer to keep my staff off the phone with insurance companies as much as possible so I can keep them focused on what’s important and not bring down the office morale.
The company is paid based on what the insurance pays—How quickly insurance pays is motivation for the company to get the claims paid at the highest amount possible and as quickly as possible. An office employee is paid regardless of whether the office is paid by insurance or not. This is what keeps our outstanding insurance claims down since we switched to an outsourcing company.
They are our insurance experts for my team—This was not one of the reasons I initially decided to outsource, but it has definitely become a benefit. My team knows that eAssist knows insurance and our plans better than anyone. So with a quick email to our representatives, our team can get reliable answers to most of our insurance questions, without ever having to call the insurance company. On a side note, have you called an insurance company lately? I called one recently and the recording told me that I would be on hold for 47 minutes. Talk about a waste of productivity and money!
I realize that outsourcing can be costly, but so can hiring and retaining a full-time employee, or dedicating hours of each day to handling insurance claims and issues with insurance companies. It may not be a fit for every office, but it has worked for ours and continues to benefit our office and staff in new ways every day.
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