The MDS Dental Practice and Benefits Committee knows that collecting co-payments can sometimes be problematic. Every day, patients come into an office for routine treatments like cleanings and assume their insurance covers it 100%. Some think dental insurance works like health insurance, which generally does not require a copay for annual checkups. Others think anything that happens during a cleaning is covered without a copay. We know dental insurance is not that simple. Patients do not.
When a patient is asked for an unexpected copay, the best-case scenario is an awkward conversation, and the worst-case scenario is they get upset. Rarely will a patient leave their appointment feeling positive about their experience if they paid more than expected.
Most patients do not understand exactly what their insurance covers. The MDS Dental Practice and Benefits Committee encourages you to train your front desk staff on positively communicating co-payment information to patients.
If you have struggled with collecting copays, take a few minutes to verify insurance benefits before the patient comes in. Explain the out-of-pocket costs to your patients beforehand. Many offices collect the copay before treatment is received. Talk about anything new that comes up during the treatment. And preauthorize any more significant procedures that need to be done. Doing so will build much deeper relationships with patients and ensure appointments end on a more positive note.
The experience matters. Take the time to get your entire team on board with their role in the journey.