The end of the year is a time of celebration for most people. Everyone is in the mood to celebrate the holidays and spend time with friends and family. It is the busy season for retailers but not so much for dental practices. A visit to the dentist is never a top priority for people and it is even less so during the holidays. But dental problems can happen anytime and now might be the best time to correct them.
The New Year Brings New Benefits
Having to write 2018 instead of 2017 is not the only change that the new year brings. Many people are not aware of this but their insurance benefits will reset at the end of the year. Most dental plans will also not allow you to roll over unused benefits. In short it means that if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Some plans will let you rollover a portion of the benefits but only if you complete certain requirements like going for an annual checkup and hygiene visits.
So what does this mean for your dental practice? It means you have a golden opportunity to persuade people to complete their dental treatments in the current year. If your schedule is not yet full, you can use this reminder to fill up open slots. Pointing out that the insurance benefits will expire at the end of the year can also help reluctant patients to say yes for further treatment instead of delaying it.
Focus on Patient Education
It is unfortunate but most patients don’t really know the ins and outs of their dental plan. It is up to you and your employees to educate them. After you finish explaining the dental issues and the proposed treatment, point out that their benefits will expire soon. Explain to them that if they complete part of the treatment this year, it will ensure that they don’t go over the maximum for the following year.
Ensure that the person at the front desk is also aware of the patient’s insurance plan, the remaining benefits and proposed treatment. This paves the way for a conversation while settling the bill and may even get you an appointment for completing treatment.
Combining Dental Insurance with FSA Benefits
Many people use FSA accounts to allocate healthcare spending in advance. But what a patient may not know is that they can use FSA dollars for dental care over and beyond their actual insurance plans. The money in FSA accounts can also expire at the end of the year so you should be encouraging your patients to use them as well.
Encourage Same Day Treatment
Use the data analytics feature of your EDR to create a list of patients who have unused insurance benefits and treatments left to complete without a scheduled appointment. You can contact them by email, text or even send a postcard to remind them to come in for the incomplete treatments. Use this opportunity to remind them that their benefits will expire and cannot be used in the following year. Urge them to make an appointment before your schedule fills up.
If you have a patient coming in for the day with incomplete treatments, persuade them to stay and complete it. It will save them another visit as well as having to remember to make another appointment later. The thing with dental problems is that they rarely get better with time. It is in the best interest of the patient to complete treatment as early as possible. A gentle reminder about expiring benefits can be the tipping point which persuades them to complete treatment! So seize this opportunity and make it worthwhile for both your patient and your clinic.