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Where Do You Fit in Average Dental Office Collections? Current Statistics and Trends

A growing proportion of Americans cannot pay for dental benefits and often forego procedures to avoid paying hefty bills. While the number of patients plays a role in the success of your office, it’s also vital to consider how your practice fares in collecting money owed.

Dental Intelligence

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November 4, 2022

Most dental offices experienced a devastating loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are only starting to recover now. However, you may find that while your patient list is ticking up and you’re performing more procedures daily, you’re still not making enough to buy new equipment and cover costs. That’s why it’s vital to discover where you fit in among your industry peers and what measures you can take to identify the disconnect between inbound patients and revenue.

Notable Dental Collection Statistics for 2022 and What They Mean for Your Business

Practices across the country face similar challenges, especially regarding average dental office collections. A growing proportion of Americans cannot pay for dental benefits and often forego procedures to avoid paying hefty bills. While the number of patients plays a role in the success of your office, it’s also vital to consider how your practice fares in collecting money owed.

• 88% of dentists1 are concerned about their patient’s ability to pay: Very few dentists discuss payment upfront with their patients, leading to situations where patients undergo a procedure but then don’t have the money to pay for it. Discussing fees upfront may help alleviate the issue, but dentists often find that patients will promise they can pay simply to get relief from their pain and are unable to actually do so.

• Many practices have 18% of their accounts receivable past due2: However, dental practices that offer dental financing have fewer accounts receivable past due than ones that do not. Patients who know what to expect and agree to monthly payments are more likely to pay their bills incrementally, leading to lower overall debt.

• Average practice collections are 91% of revenue owed3: Even with the best dental payments solutions from providers like Dental Intelligence, denied claims and late payments can eat into average dental office collections rates.

• SMS payment reminders have a 98% open rate4: Most patients do not view SMS messages (texts) as spam, and text messages represent an excellent avenue for practice collections. Office managers can easily automate these reminders, making them a cost-effective option for any office.

• Old accounts due lose their value by 7% each month: In general, debts older than 90 days will lose 7% of their value monthly and eventually become a liability. These debts are more expensive in terms of labor and staff time than they’re worth, and after a certain period of time, it becomes more cost-effective to write them off as a loss.

Tips for Increasing Your Dental Practice Collections

The disconnect between patients coming through the door and revenue can greatly impact your bottom line. Dental billing and collections require expertise to be effective, and it’s important to implement certain steps in your billing process to maximize your collection percentage.

Verify Patient Insurance

Make sure to verify patient insurance details by calling the company or using your in-network insurance portal. Not only does verification ensure that your patient really does have insurance, but it also provides a breakdown of their benefits and insurance plan.

This information contains annual maximums, frequency limitations, non-covered services, and deductibles, affecting how you discuss treatment and finances with the patient.

Streamline Patient Collections

Even patients with the best intentions may find themselves in a situation where they cannot pay for their treatment. Office managers can reduce this risk by:

• Having a checkout process where patients must pay before they leave the office

• Collecting deductibles and downgrades before the treatment

• Sending statements daily or weekly

• Treating collections as time-sensitive

• Outlining the consequences of non-payment before the treatment

Have a Dedicated Insurance Collections Process

Insurance denials can eat into average dental office collections, especially if administrators don’t understand all of the factors that can affect reimbursement. Best practices when sending insurance claims include:

• Send claims daily instead of in batches once per week

• Post insurance payments on the day they arrive, and balance/reconcile these payments after posting

• Check up on claims older than 30 days

• Verify that your clearinghouse is sending all your claims

• Avoid hitting the timely filing limit

• Note any information regarding denied claims in your payment system

Decreasing average AR days can significantly improve your average dental office collections percentage while stabilizing your cash flow. A high-quality dental payment solution can streamline your billing and collections process, giving your administrative staff more time to focus on other aspects of running the practice.

To learn more about Dental Intelligence solutions and how they can help your practice, visit our website and book a free demo today!

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