How to Generate More Income for Your Practice in 2023 – Part 1

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Brittany Rogars

Navigating The Dreaded Out Of Network Conversation

I think I can speak for most, if not all, practice managers when I say working with PPOs is a pain. It’s no wonder why so many practices are going into 2023 as out-of-network providers.

One of the most popular questions in a dental practice is whether the office “takes” or “accepts” certain insurance plans. The simple answer to this question is “yes” or “no.” While these answers may be correct, trying something different may be more beneficial to your practice’s growth.

The fastest way to shut down a conversation is to say, “We are actually out of network with your carrier.” This simple phrase is closing the door on the prospective patient and not allowing the opportunity to build trust and relationships. Try a more welcoming way instead of leading the conversation with a negative statement. Asking a question can shift the conversation back into your control. Something as simple as “I’d love to help you with that. Can I ask why you are looking for a new dentist?” allows you to take the focus off of insurance contracts and shift it to what’s important, delivering patient care.

Begin with a question.

This will put you to drive the conversation and allow you to build trust and move past insurance-related barriers.

  • “I would be happy to help you with that. Can I ask you a few questions first?”
  • “That’s a great question. Can I ask with whom I am speaking?”
  • “Thanks for asking. Can I ask, how did you hear about our office?”

After gathering all the information needed during your new patient call, you can transition back to the insurance questions. At this point in the conversation, you have, hopefully, built rapport with your new patient, and the conversation of being “out of network” can be handled in an honest but positive way. Many patients believe that being out of network means your office can not see them, so it’s important to let all current and potential patients know they are welcome in the practice regardless of their insurance plan. Most of the population does not understand how dental insurance works, and it is a dental professional’s job to teach them.

Answer the question with a more positive statement.

This will let the patient know they are welcome in your office regardless of how you are credentialled with their carrier. For example:

  • “We are actually an unrestricted provider for Cigna, and we have many Cigna patients in our office.”
  • “We will happily bill Cigna on your behalf. We are an insurance-friendly practice and will do everything in our power to maximize your benefits here.”

Making the patient feel welcome and comfortable with your practice before they ever enter your office is important for building a long-term relationship. Turning these new patient calls into a relationship-building activity instead of a financial conversation will make patients, and your team, feel more at ease.

The next time you answer a “Do you take my insurance” call, try these tips. Be sure to find verbiage that fits your office’s core values and the overall tone of your practice. Don’t forget to train all of the employees to use it consistently. If every team member delivers the same, unified message, navigating these conversations becomes second nature.

New to dental office management? Take AADOM for a test drive!

About the Author

Headshot of Brittany Rogars

Brittany Rogars, FAADOM, is the owner of SKF Practice Solutions and the founder of the Smiley Kylie Foundation. In 2017 she entered the dental field after a decade of customer service and management, developing her skills and pursuing her passion for dentistry. Brittany is a self-proclaimed CE addict, using her knowledge to serve offices nationwide. She has been a member of AADOM since 2019 and earned her AADOM Fellowship (FAADOM) designation in 2022. She is on track to earn her AADOM Mastership (MAADOM) designation at the 2023 AADOM conference in September. When she isn’t busy at work, Brittany enjoys soap making, reading, and traveling with her family.

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