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Few patients really understand dental insurance. And helping any patient understand more is no easy feat. Dental benefits are complicated. Every plan type varies from one insurance company to the other and many of them change annually. That’s why explaining dental insurance to patients is a top priority. Let’s discuss patient insurance literacy. 

Make sure patients under stand their insurance before coming in

Before you start explaining dental insurance to patients, you need to know what that coverage has to offer, including how it works. The bigger the coverage, the easier it is for patients to book a dentist appointment

The majority of American dental plans provide 80% coverage for basic dental care. That includes sealants, fillings, extractions, periodontal treatment, and non-routine X-rays. A plan often covers the complete cost of preventative treatments like routine cleaning and oral exams. 

Although dental plans can ensure 50% coverage for other treatments — like bridges, dentures, and crowns — patients are still saving a hefty sum in the long run. And if they know the ins and outs of their dental plan, they can save plenty of money and protect themselves from financial risk. 

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They’ll also pay specific rates, which means reducing their out-of-pocket costs. With dental insurance, procedures like routine cleaning become an easy choice. They ensure optimal dental health. 

What patients typically know about their dental insurance

Just 9% of American adults understand the four basic terms of health insurance, one survey shows, such as co-insurance, out-of-pocket maximum, deductibles, and health plan premium. Although that’s 2% more than in 2016, it seems they are still a long way off from making the most of their healthcare services. 

Around 77% of the US population has dental benefits. However, 40% are not even using it. Data indicates the reason dental patients don’t rely on their dental plans is that they think treatments would still be expensive. Simply put, they don’t have an understanding of the merits of having dental insurance. 

Millennials are the least informed about dental benefits of all adults. Various age groups understand insurance policies differently. While those between 22 and 37 claim they’re confident about how much they know about insurance, they actually display the lowest comprehension. Luckily, this group is among the  easiest to reach. With an active presence on social media, their level of comprehension can increase dramatically in a short period of time.

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Why does it matter?

Studies show insurance illiteracy is often linked to a lack of care. When a patient doesn’t understand insurance, they’re usually unable or unwilling to seek the care they need. And in most cases, the dental insurance for patients will cover a huge portion of treatment costs. 

Experts analyzed 506 adults with basic health coverage. Reports indicated people who were aware of their insurance benefits had a lower chance of delaying their necessary level of care. 

But, 16% of interviewees who didn’t fully understand insurance plans avoided simple dental procedures like cleanings and checkups. Although insurance covers the costs, they were still less inclined to find a dentist than the rest of the group. 

The right way to explain insurance to patients

Choose talking points and simplify the terms

Focus on simple, short messages. Once you pick a subject to talk about, be consistent. With proper talking points, it becomes easier to help patients get the message. The key to success is simple communication.

Instead of providing patients with tons of information at once, build the topic slowly to make it easier to understand. Begin with simple ideas and practical examples that would come in handy in their day-to-day lives. 

And don’t go too deep into dental insurance jargon or use complex dental or insurance terms. The goal is to inform patients about what they have to gain from having (and using) insurance, including how dental insurance for patients can help them sustain optimal dental health. 

Don’t you think you can handle it? Join Opencare and change the way you communicate with patients. You’ll learn how to improve your practice, grow your business, and attract new clients. We offer full service insurance verification and claims processing to take away the headache of insurance plans for patients.

Get creative

To boost engagement and help more patients, you may need a new strategy. This will help you change your own communication style and perspective, while helping patients boost their insurance literacy. You might try one of all of the following:

  • A social media presence. Being active on social media is a valuable tactic, especially platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You get to share dental information, reviews, or videos. With practical content, you can also boost their insurance literacy level and explain some of the misunderstood terms. 
  • E-mail and Social Campaigns are one of the most effective digital marketing techniques. When used on social media, campaigns can generate 67% more leads and 86% exposure. For instance, send clients an insurance reminder at the end of the year to inspire them to get a treatment before it gets too late to use the benefits.
  • Newsletters can become a key factor in helping patients with their insurance literacy. For example, you can cover some FAQ, define the basic terms they are least acquainted with, and talk about out-of-pocket costs. You can do this on a blog, through e-mail, or direct mail.

Perfect your website

A website is still part of a vital communication strategy. It establishes authority, presence, broadens your market share, and solidifies your brand. With SEO-optimized content, you can enhance organic traffic. Plus, you can aid patients in maximizing their insurance plans.

Although investing in a website to boost literacy may not be the most profitable solution, it is still worth it. By focusing your efforts on improving a patient’s education, you help them build a basic understanding. This knowledge will help them use all the benefits of maximizing their financial plans. 

After all, dental insurance can be very complicated to understand. So, instead of trying to teach a client in a single meeting, you can use your website to simplify the content. That makes it more approachable and easier to learn. 

Final thoughts

Creating a better healthcare environment for patients starts with maximizing their healthcare costs. But, before a patient can use their dental plan, they need to understand all the key insurance points. 

It’s true a huge portion of the American population doesn’t fully grasp the benefits of dental insurance. However, you can help change that, by teaching your patients how to access their healthcare services. This can help provide better access to dental services and promote the benefits of using insurance in a dental office.  

Worry-free insurance verification

Opencare takes the guesswork and effort out of insurance verification.

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