#AskT-Bone – Ep16 – Scripting to Ask for Medical Insurance from Patients


Hello! And welcome back for another episode of Ask T-Bone, I’m your host Dr. Tarun Agarwal and I look forward to helping your practice grow and helping you achieve clinical personal professional and financial balance in your life.

So today we’ve been submitted another question regarding medical billing and the question reads:

My team and I are excited about the win-win idea of helping our patients obtain benefits through medical billing. Do you have any tips or script for introducing the idea of billing medical insurance to patients?


So it’s a very good question and honestly it’s an area that we overthink too much. The truth is our patients are pretty much used to using medical insurance when they go to a doctor’s office. Now, they’re not necessarily used to it when they go to a general dentist office, but if they go to very many oral surgeon offices many of those offices are also billing medical. So really, the number one key, and the number one thing that holds people back from really getting medical insurance going very well, is you gotta get the medical insurance card. I know it sounds simple, I know it sounds simple. But I can tell you from even our personal experience, even to this day it’s still our number one challenge, is getting the medical insurance card for our front office team. Because, for new patient is much easier, because they’re filling out paperwork and it’s there. But for existing patients we are having to remember and in the day-to-day in a roll of practices and as things get busy throughout the day, it’s really easy to forget to ask our patients to update their medical insurance information. So you really got to make sure that you get that. And really what I think this question is asking about is, how do you ask for the card? Now before we get there asking about the card, I love the idea of the win-win relationship here. Because you want your patients to win. In fact, it’s more important for your patients to win than for you to win, in this situation.


So how does a patient win through medical billing?


One, you help them pay for treatment so they can get that treatment done, they can save their disposable income to do other treatment, or they can get treatment that I may not otherwise be able to afford to do, you can help him pay for that.


Two, often times you can help reduce their deductible by submitting claims that will apply to the deductible and you want to help them out in that way as well.


So those are the win-win that you can create. Now, we have struggled with getting the cards, we’ve had team members who want to have what I call verbal diarrhoea and they want to really explain to the patient exactly what we’re doing with medical billing, and really the philosophy I follow on this is 90% of your patients don’t care, 10% of patients will ask questions. So I tend to focus on the 90%, and when patients says, if the patient question is why you are asking for my medical insurance card? The answer is simple: We have now found that there many of the things that we do in our office that may be covered by your medical insurance, and as a service to you we’d like to begin looking to your medical insurance for benefits. Simple as that and if you can say that to them, 90% of the patients will say “Oh, that’s great!” Now 10% of the time your patients are going to ask questions. And if they ask questions, you know, depending on the nature of their questions they may say: “Well, what kind of procedures?” Say: Many about diagnostic, and radiographic, and minus surgical procedures are often covered by medical insurance.

Now if they keep pressing you, “what does that mean?”

Mrs. Jones it’s no big deal. If you’re not comfortable giving us your medical insurance card it really doesn’t change anything for us, we will be happy to continue to work directly with you, and your dental insurance benefits, and we don’t need to involve your medical insurance at all. And leave it at that. And typically what happens when we say that to them, is that now they say: “Well, is not that bad, I will go ahead and give you my card”. So really we haven’t found it, once we’ve gotten over this idea of verbal diarrhea, and what do I mean by verbal diarrhea? That’s when we over explain things to the patient. We go through and say: “well when we do this particular procedure, we will try to bill your medical insurance first and then we’ll bill your dental insurance, and then we may do a pre-authorization. and then a pre-certification and will do an eligibility check…” and blah blah blah, and it just confuses everybody. And then your team was like I don’t want to get into that conversation because what’s going to happen is they’re going to feel dumb, or they are going to feel like trapped, and they’re going to not enjoy that, so they are simply going to not ask anymore. So it’s really important to do that.


So really, that’s mainly it. And at the end of the day what we’ve coached a clinical team on, is that we simply don’t talk about medical insurance to the patients, other than saying that we will make an attempt to try to help you with your medical insurance on this particular procedure. If we know it’s one of the procedures that can be often covered by medical insurance. There’s no such thing as a predetermination, there is none of that stuff in medical insurance. And certainly if it does exist it’s not guaranteed, it’s a lot of work, it’s not worth it. I don’t want medical insurance to become one more roadblock or one more barrier, or one more quote and quote Insurance typed task for your admin team, they’ve got enough for dental insurance. Medical insurance is truly a service that you provide that is unique. because 99% of dentists don’t provide that service, so that you can provide that for your patience to assist them and getting the dentist you that they need, or dentistry that they may not otherwise be able to do, or get more dentistry done that they need and or want.


So hopefully this it has answered your question and I look forward two additional questions, so thank you for submitting your question to Ask T-Bone, if you guys have more questions please don’t hesitate to simply go to www.tbonespeaks.com and submit your question and then please do us a favor and review us an iTunes and share our podcast throughout social media and through your friends, we want to really get this resource out. it’s totally free to as many Dental professionals as we can.
Thank you very much!

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