A Simple Guide to Dental Billing and Best Practices You Should Do

A Simple Guide to Dental Billing and Best Practices You Should Do
Most dentists think of dental billing and go, “That’s how we collect money!” They’re right, but it’s more than that. A dental billing system greatly impacts your dental practice and simply relying on trust you’re doing okay is not enough. One must understand how dental billing can grow and improve the system. At Synapse, we believe dental insurance billing is one of the most critical operations for a dental office. Below, we shared what it really means to have a proper dental billing system that collects payments on time, handles complex claim submission tasks, and more.

What is Dental Billing?

Dental practices rely on the reimbursement of their services – this is where dental billing steps in. It is a process that refers to all the steps involved in receiving payment from insurance companies and patients for services your dental office provides. Dental billing is a vital process that allows dentists to continue serving their communities. This is handled by dental assistants who collect the insurance information from patients, produce claims, and send the bills to insurance companies.

Unfortunately, in most cases, dental assistants are swarmed with too much paperwork and commit all sorts of errors, putting the practice at risk of losing revenue. We heavily emphasize the importance of qualified dental billers who can accurately fill their role in the dental billing cycle. That’s why Synapse is here to ease the administrative and clinical burden of billing and assist dentists in reaching their profit goals.

Dental Billing Process Checklist

The moment patients enter your dental office, the dental billing process starts. It will end when claims are paid and posted. However, it’s more complicated than it sounds – a smooth workflow is crucial. The tasks involved are not skills that can be learned in a few days, including collecting the necessary patient information, entering it correctly, and understanding coding. Each step depends on accuracy, efficiency, and expertise. Below, you will learn more about the life cycle of dental billing.

  • Collect patient information: When the patient calls to schedule a dental appointment, your staff should note down their name, phone number, address, email address, contract preferences, date of birth, name of the subscriber’s employer or insurance plan, insurance carrier, carrier’s provider phone number, insurance ID number.
  • Verify patient insurance coverage: You can call the insurance company or log into your insurance portal to check the patient’s information, giving you a full breakdown of their benefits that will let you know the state of their coverage.
  • Record dental treatment and code data: On the day of the scheduled appointment, it’s important to record the necessary details in the clinical notes and code the procedures performed. Make sure this is well documented, reviewed, and electronically signed by the provider in your dental software.
  • Submit and track claims with their attachments: It’s time to create, batch, and submit your insurance claims, which include the code or codes of the procedure performed, patient’s information, and any attachments needed like clinical notes, x-rays, periodontal charts, narratives, primary EOB’s, intraoral photos, etc.
  • Bill patients: Check the revenue model of your practice. Either you bill the patient for the entire amount of the procedure up-front or the balance after subtracting what their insurance benefits should cover.
  • Post payments: The next step after paying and depositing the insurance claim is posting the payment, including patient payments, to your practice management software, which completes the life-cycle of a claim and you will be able to close it out.

You can run into problems when a claim has been denied or 30 days have passed and the claim has not been reimbursed. Your dental staff needs to follow up, resulting in a list of outstanding claims, and to work to appeal it for reimbursement. Remember, your biller’s expertise and efficiency determine whether there’s a low collection rate and high overhead. At Synapse, you won’t have to worry about inaccurate billing and codes because our highly trained staff are devoted to getting your reimbursements on time.

Best Dental Billing Practices

Now that you understand what the dental billing process looks like, a claim’s lifecycle from start to finish is not simple. However, don’t lose hope. You can stay on track with how you collect your patient and insurance information with the following best practices.

Make your payment process easier

Your dental practice will entertain different patients every day. Some may know their way around online payments and some don’t. A good practice is to allow patients to choose as many ways as possible to pay balances, such as through cash, credit/debit card, auto-pay on specific dates, an online payment portal, or 24/7/365 automated phone payments. We can recommend dental billing software payments to save countless hours. Instead of sorting, stuffing, sealing, and stamping on your own—we can do it better and more efficiently for you.

Properly train staff to collect patient co-payments on the date of service

Reminding patients of their initial payment portion and offering the ability to pay it on or before the appointment date is key to building trust and ensuring you get what you are paid for. Your staff must be transparent about your patients’ estimated or confirmed co-pays. Make sure you have a standard operating procedure in your office, including route slips, morning huddles, patient transfers, and balance reports in your software.

Stay updated with CDT code changes

Many dentists have trouble with rejected claims due to updates to the CDT code set. What should only take a few days turns into a prolonged period of unclaimed revenue. The dedicated chunk of time and effort to iron it out can hurt your patient satisfaction and profit. So, it may be in your best interest to consider outsourcing your dental billing at Synapse, where we maximize your practice’s revenue and save you up to 77% cost of in-house billing. You may schedule a consultation with us by contacting us at dentalsales@synhs.com or calling us at (844) 384-7532.