As a dentist, do you feel obligated to give insurance your hard-earned profits just so you can keep PPO-dependent patients? While many clinicians we’ve talked to are in-network, dwindling insurance reimbursements and dictating treatment options have put a dent in those willing to continue this one-sided relationship.
Countless practice owners have seen significant adverse effects on production and overall business health. In fact, one of our clients discovered he routinely writes off 33% of his production to insurance. You read that correctly: 33%! That equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars for this doctor annually.
Here are just a few ways insurance is wreaking havoc on his practice and on yours:
Financial Strain: Squeezed reimbursements means you have to work more to bring in the same amount of money. This makes it harder to maintain a profitable practice as you’re challenged to cover operating costs, purchase advanced equipment, and still maintain the quality of care your patients expect.
Limited Treatment Options: Insurance knows nothing about doing dentistry, but when they dictate what you can and can’t do, dentists often find themselves restricted in providing appropriate and effective care. Cost containment is prioritized resulting in suboptimal treatment results.
Your Patients (and You) Lose: Limiting treatment options can leave patients feeling left out of the process. If they feel their needs aren’t being met, they may seek care elsewhere or delay treatment altogether which impacts production.
Increased Workload on Staff: Insurance billing processes are complicated and constantly in flux. Because of this, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to navigate the paperwork – time that could otherwise be spent ensuring your patients enjoy an exceptional experience at your practice.
Negative Impact on Reputation: Limitations imposed by insurance (even when they’re beyond your control) may have patients believing you’re unwilling to provide the best care due to financial considerations. It’s not fair. But it happens.
Feeling Undervalued: Financial strain, limited treatments, and the never-ending administrative burden of handling insurance claims lead to stress, discouragement, and burnout among clinicians. Feeling undervalued for your work can kill your motivation and passion to help give patients the best possible treatment.
Remind Us Who Went to Dental School?: Professional autonomy allows you to make the best decisions for your patients based on your expertise. When someone else (someone who didn’t spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on dental school) is calling the shots, you’ve lost that autonomy and ability to treat patients using your elite skills. Insurance: 1 Job Satisfaction: 0.
Turning the Tide on Insurance for Good
This phenomenon of writing off a healthy chunk of your earnings isn’t new for dentistry, however. For decades, dentists have assumed that firing insurance means they won’t be able to make up for lost patients or replace them with patients who are capable and willing to pay their own way.
The question remains, how do you handle this predicament? We’ve seen this play out in several ways:
You can accept it.
You can fight it.
You can leave it.
It’s critical to understand that only the third option leads to success. The other two will continue to wear you down until the day you retire.
Making that first move to cut out the insurance middleman feels daunting, but you don’t have to fire all insurance all at once. And there are plenty of patients out there who want your expertise and are willing to pay for it out of pocket.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on our PPO Prison Report, feel free to grab it and begin the process of removing yourself from insurance with calculated, proven steps used by fellow doctors who were tired of working so hard to feed the insurance machine.
It’s no secret that dwindling insurance reimbursements and mandated treatment options have a direct, and detrimental, impact on your production. High-quality care shouldn’t come at the expense of your practice’s success or your happiness.