Is “Out of Network” in Your Insurance Future?
There actually are successful practices that are in network to none or to one insurance company, usually Delta Dental but not for any others. It can work but the practice must have some important systems in place and it must be a truly remarkable practice. Every aspect of the patient’s visit must be better than what the patient has experienced in the past to make them want to pay extra just to see you.
- Some things patients want:
- Communication—–tell them your policies about appointments and payments, get to know them, respect their time
- 10 out of 10 service orientation—give top notch customer service
- Painless dentistry before, during, and after
- Excellent clinical skills—continue your education and offer many services
- Keep it all in house where you can. Have specialists come to your practice to see your patients.
- Phone calls, flowers, being their friend and not their ‘provider’.
- Educate yourself on what patients want and train your team
- A team around you that believes in the value of what you are doing, and doesn’t overtly or covertly undermine you.
You will lose some, but you will have a patient base that is more committed to good care versus what the insurance pays.
To prepare for change, send a letter to patients to alert them to the change. Be sure your team has been properly trained to handle all the questions and concerns you will get from patients. Because the calls will start coming in as soon as the letters are received.
Notify in writing insurance companies that you are dropping the in network status. There will be some contractual issues to deal with first.
You will get patients asking why because most dental patients do not really understand how insurance works. It is up to us as dental professionals to explain that we are looking out for them and they should view their insurance benefits as “partial payment” towards any treatment they need.
You are going to have some patients who don’t “get it” and value other things more than their oral health. But the goal is to get patients to know that you want them to receive the best treatment possible, the treatment they need and deserve, regardless of insurance.
You will have to step up your marketing efforts to attract new patients. Going out of network is a big step and can be a good step if you are prepared.