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How to Answer Those Pesky Dental Insurance Questions


Dental Practice Marketing Tip: Answering Those Pesky Dental Insurance Questions

Good dental practice marketing begins with maximizing opportunities to convert inquiries into actual patient appointments.

As a consultant who leads many dental seminars, I train front desk team members on scheduling skills—one of the most important dental practice marketing strategies.

This article provides verbal scripts to use with patients who are insurance and budget-minded.

It is likely that your front desk coordinator hears the sample handful of questions day in and out. She may even have rote responses. It’s okay to have a prepared answer as long as it still comes across as caring, respectful and professional. Three of the most common questions are:

  • Do you take my dental insurance?
  • Why don’t you take my insurance?
  • If you don’t take my insurance, how much does XYZ procedure cost?

In all these cases, the patient is shopping before they decide to come in. You may be one on a list of dental providers they’re calling. So the key to converting a potential new patient into an actual appointment is to respond to the patient’s question with information that connects to your practice philosophy and a call to action.

After all, you probably offer the same range of services as every other dentist, and your fees are probably comparable. The only real difference is your customer service and the goals and values that informs your service.

So, here’s one of the most important dental practice marketing ideas… You and your team need to think like dental practice marketing experts—and not merely as providers!

How to get patients to schedule even if you don’t “take” their dental insurance

Your appointment coordinator needs to sound professional and welcoming without coming across as defensive or arrogant. It’s helpful if she indicates that this question has come up before and many out-of-network patients choose to come to you anyway. Following is a sample script you can use to train your front desk team.

“I’m so glad you asked that question. We work with other patients who are also concerned about what it would mean to go to an out-of- network dentist. What they found is that by choosing us the fee difference between us and in network dentists was surprisingly small while the difference in quality is great.

Our dentist made a decision that we would never compromise a patient’s treatment decisions and options because of insurance limits. I would be happy to do a benefits check and see what it would mean for you to come to us.”

How to respond to disguised “attack” questions about why you don’t take their dental insurance

This question may inadvertently put the front desk coordinator on the defensive.

The question, as is, can have multiple answers.

Your staff may be tempted to respond with one reason, “We don’t get reimbursed enough to be a preferred subscriber.”

This, although probably accurate, criticizes the patient’s insurance and won’t motivate the patient to come to the office.

Sometimes it’s better to look at the question behind the question. You can’t really adequately answer the question about why you don’t take that particular plan. But you can answer the real question, which is: Why should I come to you even though you’re not on my plan? By reframing the question, the front desk coordinator can respond to real motivators and get to the heart of the matter.

“It sounds like you’re asking an important question, which is: Why should I come here if you’re not on my plan? We pride ourselves on being a bit different from other practices. Our philosophy is that we provide the finest dental care with only kind, professional team members.

Many of our patients choose to come to even though we’re not preferred providers with their plan because they know they can trust us with their health. I’m sure if you gave us a try, you would have the same experience.”

Dental practice marketing strategies: responding to price shoppers

Good dental seminars often cover this tip: Your front desk employee needs to answer the question in a way that encourages the patient to come in to find out more information.

“I’m happy to give you a range for that procedure. Before I do, may I ask your name? Thank you, Michelle. Our fee for xyz procedure ranges from xx to yy. As you may have noted, I can only give you a range because the exact amount depends on your unique dental needs and requirements. Our patients really appreciate being treated like individuals.

When the dentist sees you, she will be able to determine exactly what you need and we can then quote you an exact amount. May I ask you a few questions so you can make an appointment with us?”

Responding to difficult questions doesn’t need to be onerous. Good dental practice marketing strategies teach you to adapt a similar response to many questions.

To get the hang of it, I suggest you lead in-office dental team trainings. This way everyone practices answering pesky insurance questions so that they can be adept and flexible when faced with these questions in real life.

Sharyn Weiss blogs on dental practice marketing ideas and other key tips from the dental seminars she leads.

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“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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