Your receptionist should know how you want the phone answered so they can say it in their sleep backwards and forwards.
Whatever else you do your front desk should be straightforward and honest. Your front desk is the window into your practice so it is vital that whoever handles new patient phone calls genuinely likes people and has excellent communication skills. Your front desk must be able to smoothly explain the benefits of coming to your office even though the patient might be "out of network".
Examples of benefits:
Beautiful & clean office
Running on time
High tech equipment
Friendly, experienced and knowledge staff
This is a general outline of how I recommend new patient insurance calls be handled. It does not need to be done verbatim.
Tweak as you see fit:
FD: Thank you for calling. This is _________ . How may I help you?
NP: I am Mrs. New Patient. Do you take XYZ Insurance?
FD: Hi, Mrs. New Patient. We are not part of the XYZ Insurance network but plenty of XYZ Insurance patients still prefer our practice. Let me explain why and how this might work for you. First of all XYZ Insurance patients love our state of the art facility, our on time scheduling and friendly staff. If you don't mind I can gather a little info that will help me determine whether I can make this work for you or not.
Go through all questions on your new patient form at this point.
FD: Here’s what I suggest: Let’s go ahead and schedule an appointment. I will then call you after I speak with your insurance company to let you know what we can or cannot do for you. Fair enough?
After you have called the insurance company call back the patient and handle as follows (if your FD already knows how the patient's insurance works there is obviously no reason to get back to them. Just explain it to the patient and get them scheduled):
1. Patient can go out of network; payment can come to you:
You have great insurance that allows you to go to the dentist of your choice. We will be happy to work with them. You will be responsible for any fees not paid by your insurance. Let’s say for instance your office visit is $100 and your insurance estimate is $80.00 then you would be responsible for the difference of $20.00 at the time of your visit.
2. DMO or in-network only.
Important: Be very precise in telling the patient their DMO has no value outside the office they are assigned to.
Mrs. New Patient although we are not a participating provider for your insurance company we would be happy to see you as a patient in our office. We can help you with payment options if that becomes necessary. Explain benefits of your office as above.
3. Patient has insurance but payment is made to patient only.
You have great insurance that allows you to go to the dentist of your choice however your insurance will only send reimbursement to you. We will be happy to prepare your forms for you and submit them but payment in full is your responsibility at the time of your visit. Explain benefits of your office as above.