Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Do your patients have new insurance benefits for 2016? Help them navigate it and build their trust.

I don’t know about you, but my insurance benefits changed this year … and if I was a patient in your practice, I sure could use a little help figuring it all out. This time of year, many of your patients will be walking in with new benefits. Sometimes they have a card from the insurance company … and sometimes they don’t. Now I am not asking you to take on the role of benefit coordinator for your patients, but many of your patients will need a little guidance. This is one area where you can exceed the level of customer service between your office and the office down the street.

In many cases, I don’t believe your patients want you to manage the benefits for them. They just need a little information so they know the right place to go and who to contact if they have questions. With many of the electronic services available to the dental practice, you can access benefit information much quicker than the patient can and you are much more knowledgeable on what to look for than the average dental patient.

I believe having a conversation with your patients and helping them navigate their plan is a great way to build trust and loyalty with your patients rather than building a wall between you and your patient. When I was working in practice, there were many times the insurance company would say things to our patients that simply weren’t true. If you can provide your patients with information before the insurance agents get to them, you are much better off being pro-active than re-active.

Many patients believe that if your office is “Out of Network,” they cannot be patients at your office. However, in many situations, this is simply not the case. Letting patients know that you can work with their plan (even if it is an out of network plan) might be the difference between them scheduling with you or calling someone else.

I realize that checking benefits can be time-consuming so try and use the online resources available to you. Many insurance carriers have online portals that you can log into and check patient benefits. I would recommend printing a copy of the benefit summary for your patients and letting them know that this is the information you receive from their insurance plan and is what you will use to estimate their out of pocket expenses. Giving the patient a printout of exactly what you see is a great way to not only inform your patients, but also build trust with him or her.

Another way you can check benefits directly from your Dentrix software is to use the Insurance Eligibility through eCentral. This feature is in real time and often provides quicker access to a more comprehensive benefit breakdown. The benefit breakdown you receive from eCentral Insurance Eligibility can also be printed for the patient and also sent to the Dentrix Document Center for future reference. I used this feature in my office and it saved me a ton of time being on the phone and logging into multiple insurance company portals throughout the day. CLICK HERE if you want more information about eCentral Insurance Eligibility.

I am looking forward to an amazing 2016 and I hope you are as well.

Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at dayna@novonee.com.


  1. I completely agree with you. Taking the time to explain to your patients about the benefits that comes with their insurance plan helps develop a strong, trust worthy relationship. Providing information to your patients allows them to feel more comfortable with your practice.

  2. Our experience with eCentrals insurance has been poor. Our dentrix trainer at the time said that it was unreliable as well. Have they updated the software to make it work better? It's been a few years, should we revisit it?

    1. The eCentral Insurance Manager is as reliable as the information that is provided by the insurance companies. Since insurance companies do not play nice with anyone we are at their mercy. My experience with the insurance manager depends on what state your practice is in because the participation by the insurance plans is state by state. When the insurance plan does participate with eCentral it is amazing and will save you and your team a ton of time and you will get very detailed information.

      Hope this helps.