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The Money Domino Effect

Articles, Business Life

By Bri Richardson, CDA

Picture this: you’re seated at a table, surrounded by a sea of colorful dominos. Across from you sits a child, eyes bright with anticipation, eagerly awaiting the moment when the first domino will fall. This isn’t just a game of dominos; it’s a testament to patience, intentionality, and the profound impact of a single gesture triggering a captivating chain reaction.

In the world of dentistry, much like the delicate balance of dominos waiting to fall, there exists a similar phenomenon—the domino effect of money and insurance. Every action taken sets off a chain reaction that reverberates through the financial processes, directly impacting your bottom line.

Have you checked your accounts receivable (A/R) report lately? Is your hard-earned money sitting on that report instead of in your bank account? If so, read on.

Your A/R report will be divided into time frames. Let’s focus on the “over 90” category. A healthy A/R over 90 is 7 percent or less. If yours does not meet this benchmark, don’t despair—there is a system! The key to managing your A/R is to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. By the time the dental insurance pays, the account should be paid in full 98 percent of the time. For existing overdue accounts, have a rock-solid, written collections protocol on how to manage the past-due balances. In four simple steps, you can revolutionize the financial health of your practice.

Step 1 is to have an excellent dental insurance breakdown. Customize your insurance breakdown template and make it unique to your practice. Make it detailed and distilled down to only the services that you perform.

Step 2 is to have a deep understanding of how your practice management software estimates copays and ensure accurate setup to allow it to estimate the correct copays. Utilize the coverage table, payment table, fee schedules/bluebook, and note section.

Step 3 is to present accurate copay estimates at the time of diagnosis, before the patient schedules. This can be an intimidating step for teams, but with the right strategy, it becomes manageable.

Presenting accurate copays at the time of diagnosis will allow the patient to make financial arrangements prior to scheduling, ensuring their portion is paid in full on or before the date of service.

Lastly, step 4 is to have a thorough, written collection protocol to manage the past-due balances. Give your team easy-to-understand instructions on how to audit and handle accounts with balances that are 30, 60, and 90-plus days old. Describe how frequently you’d like them to follow up on outstanding claims, send statements, make collection calls, write off balances as bad debt, send to a collection agency, etc. If you use any technology in the collection process (such as e-statements), customize your protocol so that it aligns with the technology you currently utilize.

Mastering the art of the money domino effect is not just about setting up the pieces; it’s about orchestrating a symphony of precision and foresight. By implementing these steps—from perfecting insurance breakdowns to presenting accurate copays and establishing a robust collection protocol—you hold the power to transform your practice’s financial landscape.

Bri Richardson, CDA, is a vibrant force in the world of dental insurance! With her boundless enthusiasm and infectious energy, Bri shines as a dynamic speaker, coach, dental insurance specialist, and dental team trainer. She owns Elevate My Practice, LLC, and is the founder of Dental Insurance SOS. Bri is most known for training dentists and their teams how to get paid in thirty days and make dental insurance less painful. Contact Bri at Bri@Elevatemypractice.com.

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