Last updated on July 23rd, 2021 at 03:00 pm
When it comes to dental case acceptance, you’ve probably heard this: “I only want to do what my insurance will pay for.”
Some of you might have heard it today! The question is – what should you do when you hear it?
In this webletter and accompanying video, I wanted to give you five simple tips that might help a patient get over this objection, allowing you to have an in-depth discussion about his or her oral health. You might be surprised at how many patients will accept and pay for full treatment plans when this happens.
In addition to reading this webletter, make sure you watch my Video Dental Practice Management Tip of the Week on this subject, where I also give you a few examples. If you can’t play on this page, watch it here: Tip of the Week
TIP #1: Don’t argue with the patient about insurance over the telephone or in the chair before doing the exam.
If a patient tells the receptionist that he or she is only doing what the insurance covers, just acknowledge it, and say you’ll make a note of that for when you draw up the treatment plan. Getting into a disagreement now will lead nowhere except as an agitation for the patient, which will make him or her tune you out for the rest of the visit.
TIP #2: When you’re talking to your patients, find out how important they make their teeth/dental health. You might even ask them, “Do you want to keep your teeth?”
When you’re sitting down for the consultation, now is the time to address their ideas about insurance. Let them know you understand that they only want to do what the insurance covers, but ask them this: “Do you want to keep your teeth?”
What you’re trying to establish is which side of the fence patients are on. What is more important to them—insurance or their teeth?
More than 70% of the time, you’ll get the answer that, yes, their teeth are more important, and they want to keep them. Now you can really help them.
(Related: Comprehensive Case Acceptance is a Team Activity)
TIP #3: Honesty is the best policy!
Example: Clinically it appears that if you only do what insurance covers, you’re never going to catch up, and eventually this patient could start losing his or her teeth. Well tell them then! (Or whatever the truth is in with regards to the particular situation). You don’t want that to happen and neither does the patient. Get the patient’s agreement here to put his insurance concerns on hold for a minute while you look at what’s needed for his or her health.
TIP #4: Direct all questions toward how you can help the patient.
Ask patients questions that will get them to tell you why they need the treatment. After all, there’s no one better to convince the patient of something than himself or herself.
Use questions like, “You said you want to keep your teeth. Why?” “How do you feel about dentures.”
You’ll wind up getting answers along the lines of, “Of course I want to do whatever it takes to keep my teeth. I don’t want dentures,” or “I’d rather do it now the right way than wait years and have it get worse…” They’ll educate themselves about the important of oral health and their treatment plans. It makes your work easy! Let them do the talking instead of coming up with a big sales pitch of your own.
TIP #5: Talk more about teeth and less about insurance.
In this industry, we can easily fall into the trap of concentrating too much on financials and insurance coverage and too little on the patient’s health. But when the patient really sees the important of his or her treatment plan and sees how it affects long-term health, the insurance side of things falls into place right where it should be—secondary to a patient’s health! Figuring out the money is easy when patients are 100% on board with getting healthy.
And you’ll find most patients just need a little nudge to get there. Hope this helps!
And don’t forget – watch the accompanying video to this webletter!