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Production for the taking: Unused or renewed benefits

Nov. 15, 2022
When they hear they have unused benefits that will disappear at the end of the year, or that their benefits have just renewed, most patients are motivated to schedule treatment.

Based on our observation, about 90% of dental practices participate in one or more dental plans. Therefore, most practices, even those that do not participate with insurance, are overlooking a great opportunity to increase practice production. In fact, today’s average dental practice will be able to increase production by approximately $120,000 per year by following these recommendations.

Patients with remaining benefits

Each September, all dental practices should plan to contact every patient with incomplete treatment and remaining dental insurance benefits. The goal is to let these patients know that they are entitled to their remaining benefits, and that those benefits can be put toward the treatment they have yet to complete. It is important to let patients know that the benefits will disappear at the end of the year, so scripting will be essential in this effort. People don’t like to hear that something will be taken away and often react vigorously by asking the office to schedule them to complete the treatment so they can use the benefits that will be gone at year’s end.

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This process often increases revenue by $60,000 or more in an average dental practice. If that number feels higher than what a practice would generally be able to achieve, it’s important to understand that the practice must have a program that uses multiple methods to reach all qualifying patients. Doing it for just a few patients will not fulfill the goal.

Patients with renewed benefits and incomplete treatment

Each January practices should plan to contact all patients who refused to complete treatment in the previous year due to having used all of their insurance benefits. Scripting will be key in reaching out to these patients as well. They should be told that there is good news! Their dental insurance benefits have renewed, and they now have the means to complete treatment that was recommended previously. This will motivate many of these patients to schedule and has the potential to attract an additional $60,000 in production early in the year in an average dental practice.

Most patients would like to complete treatment but have developed a mentality around not doing so until they are able to use benefits. This is also true in fee-for-service practices, because many patients still have dental insurance plans and want to use their benefits. Adopting a routine of helping patients understand that their benefits have renewed and working to get them scheduled will be mutually beneficial for patients and the practice.

Production for the taking

Regardless of whether a practice participates in dental insurance plans, there is an enormous opportunity to increase production by contacting patients with remaining benefits and incomplete treatment in September and patients with incomplete treatment and renewed benefits in January. Doing this annually will increase practice production over time and pave the pathway to financial independence for the doctors.

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