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How do dental practices inform patients they are not in network with dental insurance?

You CAN discuss OON status with dental patients with little to no anxiety or friction

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Dental Insurance network status is a topic that often causes some anxiety for dental office administrators. Informing patients that your practice isn't in network with their insurance provider may cause concern that they will not want to become or remain a patient at your practice, but fear not! With the right approach, you can minimize patient loss and turn objections into opportunities for strengthening patient relationships. Whether you are already out of network and must inform new patients that this is the case, or you are planning to change network status, these tips will help guide conversations in a positive manner, with your patients’ best interest in mind. 

1. Be Transparent

Start with honesty. When discussing your current or future out-of-network status, be upfront and transparent. Patients appreciate candor and are more likely to trust you if you're straightforward from the beginning, which is typically an inbound phone call for new patients. Be prepared to explain why you are out of network, in terms your patient will relate to, which leads to tip 2. 

2. Educate, Don't Intimidate

Insurance jargon can be confusing. Hey, it even confuses the experts at times, right? Take the time to explain the differences between in-network and out-of-network providers in simple terms. Patients will feel more at ease when they understand the situation clearly. For more clarity around this subject alone, WebMd has a great blog pertaining to what network status essentially is.

Bonus tip: Include a statement such as “at our practice we have found that not allowing insurance to determine what treatment is best for our patients based on cost to THEM rather than our patients’ health does not align with our goal to provide you with the best treatment available.” 

PPO providers - don’t let this make you think IN network status reflects the opposite, as that is not the case at all! As we all know, location, patient base, and common plans in your area can impact network status choices and their effect on treatment limitations and patient base accordingly. It is not a “one size fits all” decision

3. Address Concerns with Empathy

Listen to your patients' concerns and address them with empathy. Acknowledge their worries and reassure them that you're committed to finding solutions that work for them, potentially including payment plans should they be needed. 

4. Highlight Your Value

Emphasize the benefits of choosing your practice, such as personalized care, shorter wait times, and access to advanced technology. Help patients see that quality of care outweighs insurance network status.

5. Follow Up and Stay Connected

Keep the conversation going beyond the initial discussion. Follow up with patients to ensure their satisfaction and stay connected through email or phone calls to keep them informed about practice updates and promotions.

By approaching the out-of-network conversation with honesty, empathy, and a focus on value, you can strengthen patient relationships and retain their loyalty. Remember, it's about providing exceptional care and service that keeps patients coming back, regardless of insurance network status.

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