The August 1st Keep Your Patients Deadline June 22 2016
The August 1st Keep Your Patients Deadline
The August 1st Medicare application deadline is here and it is incredible that I still meet dentists every day that tell me they don’t even know they have to make a decision. You can still get this done even if you are reading this article after August 1st but you need to have it done in the next 60 days. Most dentists are now waking up and are in panic mode realizing how much they have procrastinated.
First mistake is this – don’t wait any longer to get your application in. Like simple supply and demand economics, the closer we get to August 1st or once you are past August 1st, the more this is going to cost you in money and lost patients!
SHOULD YOU DO THIS YOURSELF? NO!
Ask any of your physician friends if they would attempt to apply to Medicare by themselves, they will look at you like you have lost your mind.
Let me ask you a question – do you prepare your own tax return? Why not? The form looks pretty simple, you can look at last year’s return and figure out what your accountant has done and just punch in new numbers. You can do it, you can find all the information online and get questions answered. You don’t prepare your own tax return because you would be a fool to do so. You need an expert because nothing with Medicare is simple!
MEDICARE APPLICATION MISTAKES DENTISTS MAKE
The most common problems dentists have made because they did not get professional help:
- Trying to prepare the application themselves – while it seems to be a short application, it is much more exacting than you know. One dentist received a 7 page rejection letter because of the mistakes he made on a “simple” application.
- Some dental associations have told members to opt out without fully understanding the implications - a number of dentists in a particular state opted out of Medicare and then were locked out of Medicare Advantage dental plans for two years! Say goodbye to these patients forever!
- Some dentists make the erroneous assumption that if they do nothing, their patients won’t care because this is only about the patient’s ability to be reimbursed for Medicare Part D prescriptions which are cheap anyway. This is a huge mistake. This affects the patient’s ability to be reimbursed anytime you refer them for a biopsy, imaging or any procedure that Medicare may pay for in addition to their prescriptions. If you know anything about Medicare geriatric patients, once they are told by a pharmacist that they have to pay even a small fee for a prescription because their dentist messed up, they will leave your office.
- Some dentists have mistakenly opted in for billing Medicare when this is not right for their office. There are some minimum billing requirements they may not be able to meet at which time Medicare will de-activate their account.
How much is your time worth? How much do you pay your front desk people? Should a dentist be wasting their time slogging through the application? A few offices have told me they spent collectively about 40 hours on this application process including calling Medicare, trying to find out what is going on with their application, got a few rejections because of tiny mistakes, and they have no idea what to do or how they will know if their application is accepted. In lost production, your valuable time and your staff time which you are paying for, this can cost you up to $10,000 of lost dental production, much more than letting professionals handle this for you.
STATistics On Medicare Choices
I asked STATDDS for their most updated statistics as to what the thousands of STATDDS dentists have chosen the past 2 1/2 years:
- 4% of dentists enrolling in Medicare Part B chose to enroll as an ordering/prescribing provider.
- 1% of dentists chose to opt out of Medicare.
- 6% of dentists chose to enroll in Medicare as a billing provider.
- 94% of STATDDS clients who first tried to submit a Medicare application themselves were rejected by Medicare, with the other 6% of this group successfully enrolled into the wrong Medicare choice and now wanted to change enrollment before they lost patients.
- 38% of dentists enrolling with STATDDS in Medicare part B also chose to submit a Medicare DME application at the same time so that they can bill Medicare for oral appliances for dental sleep medicine.
Why did we choose STATDDS? First, they were hundreds of dollars less expensive than anyone else for both the Medicare Part B applications and especially the DME application so we could bill Medicare for oral sleep appliances at a patient fee of $2000+ (time for you to learn dental sleep medicine and make oral sleep appliances – the AAFE can train you today!). Second, they have the most experience with dentists and the Medicare choice. I tried it myself for 2 ½ months and couldn’t get the application done, and my office managers are great at figuring things out. I wasted so much of my valuable time that I wish I could get back! We finally used the professionals at STATDDS to guide us and submit our application, we had our final acceptance letter from Medicare in 3 weeks.
The bottom line that I tell dentists is this – do you do your own accounting or legal work? Of course not. This Medicare application process takes a certain level of professional skill and expertise which I guarantee that you and your front office do not possess. The choice of which direction, application and provider status to choose requires careful evaluation, education, and professional assistance. Get it done today!
Louis Malcmacher DDS MAGD is a practicing general dentist and an internationally known educator. Dr. Malcmacher is president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) and is a consultant for STATDDS. You can contact him at 800 952-0521 or email drlouis@FacialEsthetics.org. Go to www.FacialEsthetics.org where you can find information about live patient Frontline TMJ/Headaches/Orofacial Pain live patient training, Botox and Dermal Fillers live patient training, Bruxism Therapy and Frontline Dental Sleep Medicine, Medicare/Medical Insurance, dental implant training, download his resource list, and sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter.