With today’s constantly changing and evolving insurance rules and regulations, it is imperative to pay more attention to eligibility and benefits verification. Accurate insurance verification ensures a greater number of clean claims, which speeds up the clearance and shortens the billing cycle. Other complex processes involved in RCM can deflect the attention of the practice, leading to claim denials. You can collect information with greater accuracy if you have the eligibility and benefits verification process in order. This means that providers must understand the insurance verification procedure and its significance to the dental care sector. This could also mean that mistakes made in carrying out effective insurance verification or in submitting a claim for a procedure that the patient’s insurance carrier does not cover or that is performed by providers who work outside the employee’s health insurance provider network could result in the patient feeling financially vulnerable, anxious, and frustrated.
Practices may face a lot of snags while dealing with eligibility and benefits verification, which could lead to claim denials or rejections.
Some common mistakes include:
- Typos or other miniscule errors in the information collected from patients
- Insufficient or incomplete patient information
- Expired coverage
- Services that are not covered
- Services that require prior authorization or referral
- Out of network coverage
- Inactive insurance policies
- Neglecting to ask about a secondary policy
So, how can you improve your eligibility and verification process?
Perform an eligibility and benefit verification prior to the service
To receive maximum payments for the services rendered, practices need to verify the patient’s eligibility before every patient visit. It is, however, one of the most neglected or delayed steps, which often leads to claim denials. The time leverage aids you in identifying and filling in missing or insufficient information, if there are any. The eligibility and benefit verification processes include data management, analysis, and recording skills, which cannot be performed properly if carried out at the last possible moment. This means that on-time eligibility and benefit verification help you reduce claim rejections and denials to a great extent.
Crosscheck or review the data collected
The patient information collected, including the dental care and insurance data, need to be reviewed carefully in order to identify any errors, missing information, or the validity of data collected. This information collected is the foundation of a dental claim. An error which could seem trifling can cause claim denials. Extra care must be taken while transcribing information into the patient records. Rushing through eligibility and benefit verification without reviewing it again may result in days or weeks of payment delays or a claim going unpaid entirely, both of which can be problematic for any practice.
Always have supporting documentation for the information collected
Have sufficient proof of the collected data for future reference and in case of emergencies. These could provide swift reference and could help to avoid any errors while putting in the data. This could make your eligibility and verification processes faster and easier and save on time.
Analyzing and calculating patient’s responsibility
Determine in advance what the patient may be required to spend out-of-pocket and how much the insurance company is likely to reimburse. Some plans might have restrictions on the cost of each visit or the frequency and duration of the services that must be provided. Check if any benefit limit has been stated, indicating the number of benefits available for the patient. Patient responsibilities such as deductibles, copayments, and co-insurance must be communicated to patients in advance for greater transparency and trust.
Have an insurance verification checklist
Make sure that you ask pertinent questions for eligibility and benefits verification. There are chances that critical information may be left out. A well-organized checklist could serve greatly for this very purpose. It will help you to have an organized and accurate eligibility and benefit verification process and can reduce the chances of the practice missing out on important pieces of information or data. Some important information to be included in the checklist are:
- Patient benefits
- Status of patient policy
- Policy effective and lapse dates
- Type of plan and coverage details
- Services under the exclusion list of policy
- Claims mailing address
- The possibility of referrals and pre-authorizations being required
- Life-time maximum
Maintain regular contact with the patients as well as the insurance providers
Keep in regular contact with your patients as well as the insurance provider in case you need any additional information or clarity on any existing information. Do not hesitate to initiate the conversation, as this could greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your eligibility and verification process. This could also help in creating a bond with your patients, thereby earning their trust.
Identifying pre-authorization needs
Check for pre-authorization requirements before starting the treatment, as there are several insurance companies that require pre-authorization for certain procedures. Checking for and receiving pre-authorization ahead of time in such cases can significantly speed up your payment process and reduce the number of denied claims.
Partner with a reliable RCM service provider
Handling eligibility and benefit verification and other important RCM processes along with patient experience and treatment can be an added workload for your practice. It could significantly eat into your business hours and could leave you and your staff exhausted. With an Dental RCM service provider by your side, your practice will be free of the complexities of the revenue cycle. This will provide you with the time to focus your attention on the more important tasks of the practice. Which, of course, could help improve the overall revenue cycle, efficiency, and growth of your practice.
Many practices and patients are unaware or confused about the eligibility and benefits verification process and often make mistakes. Following through on a proper and well-managed eligibility and benefits verification process can undeniably have a huge impact on your practice, improving its revenue cycle and revenue. It also leads to a better patient experience as well as improved patient satisfaction. Eligibility and verification is the first step to your revenue cycle and mistakes made at this stage could mean starting over on the entire process. To avoid any costly mistakes and to maintain the financial well-being of your practice, a healthy and smooth eligibility and benefits verification process is indispensable.