Billing and Reimbursement Strategies that Work

Did you miss the 2012 Dentrix Business of Dentistry Conference? Read on for tips from Lois Banta’s valuable class.

In her class called "Billing and Reimbursement Strategies that Work," Lois Banta taught several proven techniques for writing a detailed narrative, documenting in the patient’s chart, using dental coding systems to maximize reimbursement and developing the key communication techniques that win with insurance companies. Here are eight tips from the class:

  1. Don’t allow patients to depend completely on you for the accuracy of their dental benefits and the outcome of their dental claims. This should be a shared responsibility.
  2. Get the correct information in the right order. When a patient initially calls the office, always ask the relationship-building questions first, such as, "Who may we thank for referring you?" and "Who was your previous dentist?" This lets the patient know you are interested in them and their dental care.
  3. Be sure to collect the estimated balance due (after approximate insurance payment is calculated) at each appointment and explain that patients are responsible for all balances regardless of insurance payment outcome.
  4. Use your dental software correctly. Let it work for you. Get ongoing training, whether live in-office or Web-based. Knowledge is a powerful tool. For more information, visit
  5. Involve the patient in each step of the process. Always reassure your patients of your shared goal in getting them the optimum result. This is why you partner with them. The more your patients know about their dental benefit plans, the more they are able to help you help them resolve claims.
  6. Be accurate. This is where dental practices stumble most often. Make sure you mark the appropriate boxes on major claims. Most dental benefit guidelines are very specific on what is required to accompany a claim on major dentistry, such as diagnostic film, photograph, initial or replacement.
  7. Make sure the code you use is actually the procedure that was performed. Altering a code specifically to obtain a benefit is fraud.
  8. Track your claims. Every computer system has a report you can generate to track claims status. If you accept assignment of benefits, you must track your claims. They will not pay themselves, and the insurance company won’t contact you to let you know the claim is past due.

Lois Banta is CEO, president and founder of Banta Consulting, Inc., a company that specializes in all aspects of dental practice management. Lois has over 37 years of dental experience and consults and speaks nationally and internationally. She is also the owner of the Speaking Consulting Network, and a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), American Academy of Dental Practice Administration (AADPA), American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), National Speakers Association (NSA) and American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM). To contact Lois for consulting or a professional speaking invitation, call 816-847-2055.

Author: Lois Banta
Published: 11/30/2012
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