After providing dental services to a patient, billing of claims follows as a matter-of-course. Claims billing has become a complicated process today. Different carriers, their various software infrastructure, different clearinghouses and their requirements, federal and state mandates, the myriad amounts of data and documentation required for preparing claims, all could make claims billing and submission quite confusing. Add to that the different types of services that patients may avail from a dental practice, and you have virtual chaos on your hands. Errorless claims billing, among other things, sets the foundation for the revenue cycle management of dental healthcare. Without a proper billing system, practices could find themselves disoriented.
So, how can you make your claims billing easy?
Before any service is provided, every practice needs to ensure that information regarding services and payments is communicated to their patients. Transparency in communication is a crucial and one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your claims billing process. Your patients need to be made aware of their responsibilities and data collection requirements, before availing the services. This ensures, firstly, that the patients are not subjected to any surprises about information or payments that they are responsible for. Secondly, it prevents the possibility of denials or part payments due to ignorance about the requirements within the claims process. Such information is especially required for services that are only partially covered or those that require copayments. Organizing your data and pieces of information that need to be given to your patient, will improve the chances of building a better bond with your patients, thus increasing the reliability of the practice.
Maintain and Update Patient Files
It is important that you keep your patient files updated at all times, as any inaccuracies in them can lead to wasted time and revenue losses. A change in insurance carriers, type of plan, demographics, services covered, copays and deductibles are all examples of the types of information that could change even mid-term. If such information is not updated on time, the revenue cycle gets disrupted. All such changes must be collected, verified thoroughly and updated regularly before the submission of claims. It follows that the first step to having a well-managed claims billing process is to have an up-to-date patient information file.
Maintain Sufficient Documentation
Documentation here refers to what is prepared for each service provided. Timely reimbursement depends hugely on proper and sufficient documentation. Each carrier would have different documentation requirements for claims. Some may even require additional documentation for specific procedures. Identifying what is required and ensuring that it is ready and accurate can drastically reduce the need to resubmit claims due to denials or part payments.
Keep in touch with the patients as well as the insurance provider
Stay in touch with your patients as well as the insurance provider in case any additional information or updates on already existing ones is required. This ensures that you keep the channels of communication with your patients and insurance providers open, which, in turn, facilitates the chances of receiving important updates on all the necessary information needed for claims billing.
Stay Up to date on Coding Regulations
A huge number of claim denials occur because of incorrect coding of the services rendered. This is a natural probability given the sheer volume of codes there are in the dental insurance field. Any change to the coding rules and regulations amplifies the problem. Staying up to date on coding changes, additions and/or deletions can save your practice the time and energy needed for reworking denied claims.
Tracking Frequencies, Exclusions, and Limitations
Usually, frequencies, exclusions, and limitations vary according to different insurance plans. The payment amounts available depends on these factors. There may be policies that even have age-group limitations for certain procedures. It is, therefore, crucial to obtain a copy of the patient’s information as well as an insurance certificate that details exclusions, age limitations, and plan benefits before the claims billing process.
Establishing quality control measures for claims submissions is a wise decision to make. It strengthens your claims billing process, wipes out any potential errors, and helps you cut out any unnecessary expenses. In addition to this, there is quite a bit of learning to be had in reviewing any past claims that were denied. This will help eliminate the same errors being made in future.
Partnering with an RCM service provider
Claims billing is one of the most important and crucial steps in the dental revenue cycle management process and therefore requires a lot of attention and focus from the staff at your practice. It is only natural that not paying enough attention to it would cause negative impacts on your RCM. An RCM service provider mitigates the stress that is involved in running a practice. Your staff and you can focus entirely on patient care and treatment, while your RCM provider guides you through the complex revenue cycle processes. A competent RCM provider helps you create a well-planned and organized system to maintain a healthy revenue cycle.