Dental management for insurance plans

You know how most dentists are signed up with at least a couple dental insurance plans but can’t tell if they are bringing in enough patients to make it worth the write-off? I have designed a tracking system that solves that problem.

Today, most dentists are enrolled in at least 2-3 of the members’ only dental insurance plans. It is a lot of work to sign up with even one plan:

  • First, the dentist has to sign a contract (and hopefully read it in detail first)
  • Accept (and negotiate first?) the fee schedule
  • Submit dozens of forms just to get through their credentialing process (now just where did you put that copy of your malpractice certificate)

All so he could get new patients. Or, as most dentists are sold – so that we don’t LOSE our current patients whose plan just now switched to this insurance company.

So, you signed up.

Now, is this dental marketing strategy working?

  • How many new patients are you receiving from each dental insurance plan?
  • How much money did these patients bring into the practice?
  • How much did you have to withhold (write off) thanks to the fee schedule limitations?
  • Did you make a profit?
  • Should you keep this insurance plan? Or not?
  • Should you sign up for another plan? Will this one be any better than the last?

It’s these type of questions I wanted to find the answers to in my own group practice. So, I set up a system to keep track. Now that this system is established, I run a report once each quarter and it literally takes me 5 minutes to know the answers to each one of the questions above. I know how much money each plan brings in. I know how many patients – both new and existing – each plan brings in. I know how much we are writing off in insurance withholds. I also factor in other discounts that we give to these patients so that we get a true picture of how much money we are giving away (or in marketing speak, investing in this marketing plan to gain new patients). Then, I can calculate an ROI (Return on Investment) for each plan.

With this data, I know if each plan is performing to goal.

I know which plans are the best ones for our practice – so when an employer asks which dental insurance plan we recommend – I always tell them the one with the best return for us! I also use this information to give feedback to the different insurance plans so they know that I am tracking and I can find out about ways to improve our reimbursements. With this system in place, I feel confident in my dental management approach and can provide the dentists in our group with the confidence that we are using dental insurance plans as a dentist marketing program and tracking their performance regularly.

If you would like to learn and apply this same tracking system in your office, the instructions are available for purchase. and I will be happy to talk with you about setting it up. One caveat here, I work with Dentrix only. So, if you are using Dentrix as your dental practice management software system, I can help you to set up an insurance tracking system for your practice to help you establish a dental marketing program through joining insurance plans.

For more ideas to improve the business-side of your dental practice:

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
1 Comment
  • Good morning,

    I was forwarding some of your postings to a friend that uses Dentrix. I had spoken to her about your method for calculating ROI for insurance plans. I tried to view the video referenced above and the link seems to be inactive or a dead end…just passing this along.

    I really enjoyed your last email and hope to reply today!


    April 27, 2012