Lesson #6: CORE Lesson #6 – Dealing with Insurance
About This Lesson
Instructions coming soon..
- Think of some simple analogies you can use when patients inevitably ask about insurance. Know them cold and use them with confidence. This is like have “closing lines” when it comes to closing a big case.
- Have your team know some analogies as well as they will get asked the same questions, especially your front office!
What's up, everybody? Welcome back to another video, and on this video, we are going to talk about probably the most important concept or question that gets asked by dentists over and over and over again, it's: how do we deal with insurance?
And listen, I get it, and I still... This is a continual process for me, I'm a dentist, I still get patients that ask that question, I will continue to get patients that ask that question. "Do you take my insurance?" And blah-blah. "Will my insurance cover this?"
This video's not meant to be like, "You say this, you say this, you say this." There's a lot of stuff in this manual, in this program, about specific things you can say to patients. And I'll be the first to admit that there's great resources outside of Dental Sales Secrets, as well, on how to address those insurance questions. This is going to be a video that's much bigger in nature and much more broad, to really get you to think, "Am I even asking the right questions when it comes to this question?"
Because the reality is, how you view this is going to determine how your patients view it. And so, this is Tenet Number Six, and I didn't know where to put this exactly, because sometimes, I will bring up the insurance topic myself to the patients; sometimes I don't. There's different schools of thought, whether or not you initiate that conversation because when you initiate the conversation, you actually are putting that thought into a patient's mind.
I view it this way: your patient's already thinking of it, right? And so, by bringing it into the forefront, you've actually kind of cut it off at the head. I talk about some bigger-level concepts with patients when it comes to insurance, and I'm going to share those with you so that you can at least have a dialogue where you don't get combative. Dentists get combative by this. They're almost offended that patients ask about insurance.
Of course they're going to ask about insurance, right? If they have it, they're going to use it. Now, one of the things that I do is, my front office will let me know, even on the new patient sheet, if this patient has insurance or doesn't have insurance. If they don't have insurance, no, I'm not bringing this up. I'm not going to make a mountain out of a molehill. But even then, I do have patients, "Well, now that I'm ready to get some dental care, maybe I need to pick up insurance."
And you know that's not going to actually help them, especially if they're paying for it. Right? So, I would say that. "Well, listen, if you have insurance already and somebody else is paying for your insurance, let's go ahead and maximize it. But if you don't have insurance, you actually are probably going to come out ahead. And here's why. The nature of our practice allows you to come out ahead, because we're really focused on creating health for you rather than simply treating disease all day long."
Here are some things that I want you to think about with the insurance. And this quote to me sums it up perfectly. "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." Buckminster Fuller.
Now, you have in your hands with Dental Sales Secrets a tool to create a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Listen, you can't keep doing the same things in your practice over and over and over again and expect a different result. That is the definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein. Now, there's a lot of things that are attributed to Albert Einstein and I don't know if they're actually true, but that is one that gets attributed to him a lot, so let's go with it.
If you keep doing the same thing in your practice over and over and over, and expect your patients to not ask about insurance, you're insane. What you have to do is build a new patient process that moves beyond the insurance question by creating a new future for your patient that makes the previous model, which was the insurance-based model, obsolete. Right? So, we have to be thinking differently about insurance. We cannot simply try to attack the insurance companies.
I always laugh when dentists post this stuff. They post the CEO of Delta Dental is making 55 million dollars, and do you think patients really care about that? No! What they care about is their health, right? They care about the decisions they're making, they care about the money that they do have, and they're trying to maximize the benefits they have. By attacking insurance companies, you're not solving the problem, and in fact, you're probably making it worse.
Because it doesn't actually look good for the dentist when you attack the insurance company, because here's a newsflash: patients already think you make too much as a dentist. Because you make too much as a dentist, that's never going to be seen with sympathy. It's kind of like attacking a president if they make too much money, right?
At the end of the day, people don't care. What they care about is, "Are you going to be able to help me? Are you going to be able to take care of me?" And so, that's why this new patient process is so effective, is because it creates an environment in which the patient now has an, A, identity crisis, and B, a choice to make. Right? You don't want to attack the insurance. Instead, you want to create this new model that makes the existing model not advantageous for the patient.
In Gerber's book, The E-Myth, he talks about this concept with team members. Team members aren't necessarily going to follow a system unless following the system is more advantageous than not following the system. You have to do the same thing for your patients. Put them in an environment that, if they follow your system, having insurance is not going to be an issue for them anymore, because you've moved them past disease so that the health they create is actually going to create a situation where paying for insurance is actually costing them money.
That's what you have to do! Right? And so, what I do is I tie insurance back to how it will not help patients get the things they said they wanted, which, the three universal truths. And I can guarantee you, I've been in enough insurance-based practices that one of the inherent limitations of an insurance-based practice is, it has to move faster than I can as a out-of-network or fee-for-service practice. It has to. They have to do almost double the amount of work I have to do in order to keep the same level of income or revenue coming into the practice. And in fact, their overheads are going to be higher, so they're going to have to have even more team members, because they have to go faster.
And, if they're crowns, they're taking half the fee that I would take, that means they have to do two times as many crowns. That also means that they're more likely to over-diagnose than under-diagnose, right? So, what I say is not necessarily that somebody that is taking insurance is a bad dentist, because they're not; there's a lot of great dentists that take insurance. But there's some inherent limitations that, when you have an insurance-based plan, dictate what level of care you're going to get provided, you ultimately aren't going to get the three things you told me you wanted earlier during this process, during this interview.
And so, I just want you to be aware of those limitations that, if we allow a third party to dictate how healthy you want to be, and how healthy you're going to get, you will inevitably lose. And then, I go into Number Four, which is the ultimate goal of insurance. And I tell patients this. "Listen, the ultimate goal of any insurance is for you to get premiums paid to them over and over and over, and them never have to reimburse for anything." Right? That's what every insurance company does. That's why insurance works.
If insurance had to pay off on everything, there wouldn't be insurance. They'd lose money, they go out of business. So, I said, the ultimate goal of most insurance companies, if you really go out and talk to them, it's like, "Hey, everybody would be a [inaudible 00:07:32] but they'd still be paying for dental care, even if they don't go." That would be the ultimate end result.
They don't care if you keep your teeth or not. But you're not attacking them and their plan; you're saying the limits of insurance and how insurance gets paid... And use car insurance, right? Use medical insurance. Use any form of insurance that you can. Don't attack the dental insurance.
Say, "Listen, any insurance plan... If you had your car, what do they do? They try to delay the claim. They try to do this, they try to do that. There's reasons they do that. It's because the money that they can keep in their pocket is ultimately going to lead to more profit for them. It's no different with dental insurance. You just have to be aware that your insurance does not care whether you keep your teeth or not. And in fact, they probably would prefer you to lose all your teeth, but keep paying your premiums. Then they would ultimately win."
Right? So, that's what... I'm having that discussion. Now, I'm a little bit more forthright than most, but again, try to not be confrontational in this. That's where most dentists make the mistake. If they're confrontational in this environment, the patients will get a little bit defensive, and nobody wins.
You can have an honest conversation with your patients, but you want them to know that they have a choice. Okay? And you cannot convert them overnight. They feel... You have to remember, their insurance company has sent them letters on their behalf, how great they are, how they're going to be able to maximize benefits. If you're out-of-network, they probably already gotten letters that, "Hey, you can save money by switching to an in-network provider."
This is why I do all these things at an interview! I don't want to neglect and avoid this situation so that two years or three years from now, they're getting a letter from their insurance company that's telling them, "Hey, if you switch to an in-network provider, you could save some money."
There's a fundamental difference, and anybody that knows me, knows that I bought an existing practice. The patients that left for insurance reasons were the patients that had been there previous to me doing this process with new patients. Because I never talked to them about it. They say, "You know, I could save a couple hundred bucks on my crown," and because I never went through a process with them, explaining this...
If I try to react now, I still lose. You could say, "Well, you know, I want the highest quality of care for you, and as a result, I'm not able to take these plans, and X, Y, and Z." And you know what? Patients don't care.
But if you have this discussion with them at the very beginning, at least you know that you talked about this before you did anything for the patient. Right?
When I'm going through this process, honestly, there is times that I'll do this interview process as a consult. They've never paid me a dime. So, I don't care if they end up becoming a patient or not, and there's no financial risk for them, listening to this information. I just want you to keep that in the back of your mind, that this process takes time, but the sooner you address this issue that is the elephant in the room, the better off you'll be, okay?
And I always use analogies and create stories. I use many stories for my patients. One is what I just described to you, about creating that picture for the insurance companies. I talk about patients that are in their 80's and 90's in my practice, and I talk about a hypothetical Mrs. Jones that didn't really understand how to prevent disease, and as she got older, she had more and more disease, and then she lost her insurance. So, now she has a lot of these issues that cost a lot of money, and she has nothing to fall back on. She's paying everything out of pocket, so I'm trying to create a situation in which you don't have to worry about that when you get older.
Be vivid with your storytelling. Be vivid with your quote-unquote "story selling," which is what I talk about in Dental Sales Secrets. You have to be able to create these emotional-based stories to let the patients know that there are consequences for relying on a third party to dictate how healthy they're going to be.
The action steps here are very, very simple. Think of some simple analogies you can use when patients inevitably ask about insurance. Okay? Know them cold, and use them with confidence. This is like, later on in the process, we talk about having some closes, like getting money from patients. You have to know them! You have to project them with confidence. You can't hem-haw around and go, "Oh, erm, uh..."
You know they're going to ask! It's like if you have a network marketing company, right? There's four or five things that potential people that are going to work with you say, "Is it a pyramid scheme? My brother had this. It never worked." Things like that, right?
There's simple things that people will always say; you need to know that, you need to have an analogy or a story that can go with it so the second they say it, you have your story. Very, very important.
And then, you want your team to know the same analogies, right? Because they're going to get asked the same questions, especially up front. I'm amazed, the phone skills... They'll ask the same things. "Do you take my plan?" And they'll say the same thing and it never works, and they keep saying it. Why?
Because it's the path of least resistance. You have to have things that are actually effective so when somebody comes on a phone and asks about insurance, there's a script that you have, and that's in that office manual, as well. I encourage you guys to use that, that's found in the program, so that when they ask that question, you have something you can go to that you can project with confidence.
Any veteran salesperson has a script that they go to. Now, they don't verbatim memorize what's on the script, but they have an internal dialogue to know exactly where they're at in the process and how to say the right things at the right time to move them along from the interview, to the guided tour, to the review of findings. So, I encourage you to really be thinking about this. This is a very big deal. I talked about some high-level concepts in this video.
Make sure you come to the Q&A's. Make sure that you're getting the information you need, because you need to have a strategy for this, and I encourage you to think about, "How do I create an environment that makes the existing environment that this patient has previously been in obsolete?"