By Kara E. Ramsey, OD
July 8, 2020
It may seem intimidating, but dropping managed care plans actually represents a tremendous opportunity for your practice. It can also be a great opportunity for your patients–if you have the right technology in place to smooth the transition.
We found a technology solution that allows us to quickly and easily submit insurance reimbursements for our patients, regardless of which vision insurance they have–and regardless of whether we are on that plan’s insurance panel.
That technology is Anagram. We added it to our practice in 2017, and have enjoyed impressive growth since that time. We believe that growth is due in large part to our ability to operate free from insurance panel membership, while enabling patients with any kind of insurance to visit our office.
Huge Stimulant to Revenue Growth
Dropping insurance and filing out-of-network (OON) with Anagram has increased our revenue per transaction by $80 in the first month of using the technology, and has grown since then to a $110 increase in revenue per transaction. We started at $120 in revenue per transaction, and now we are at $235 per transaction. We are a five-year-old cold-start practice, we don’t take insurance at all, and we continue to grow at 20 percent annually with a revenue per patient of $557.
In addition, our cost of goods has decreased because we don’t have to use the insurance company optical labs, meaning vision plans that require us to use their lab, and then use charge-backs to reduce the amount being paid, not only for glasses, but also for exam co-pays.
Easy Cloud-Based Technology that Increases Efficiency
Anagram is a cloud-based web application that provides a streamlined experience for managing vision insurance benefits for all kinds of eyecare providers, including optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists. Anagram makes it possible to easily submit claims for all patients, regardless of whether your office accepts the patient’s insurance, or whether your practice accepts any insurance at all.
Anagram is significantly more efficient than filing patient insurance manually. Before adding the technology to my practice, I had been thinking about adding an insurance billing team member, but instead I dropped membership in all insurance panels, started with Anagram, and I am now able to keep only two employees–with everything, including filing insurance reimbursements for patients, running smoothly.
User-Friendly & There for You
The technology is so simple that my staff did not require extended training to use it. The technology allows staff members to instantly look up patients’ membership in insurance plans, with most of the rest of the process automated. There is little, beyond typing in the patient’s name, required to set the process in place to quickly get the patient reimbursed for their visit.
Optical Shopping Simplified
Anagram allows us to easily find out for the patient how much of their eyewear purchase will be reimbursed. We couple that ease of knowing exactly how much they’ll get back on their glasses with package-pricing for high-quality products. Our patients never have to experience confusion and irritation about co-pays for lens treatments, as we only sell all-inclusive lenses.
Boost to Our Branding as a Direct Care Office
We market our practice as a Direct Care office, meaning we are OON with all insurance companies, while spending more time with each patient, and including all needed testing in one fee. A technology like Anagram allows more patients to benefit from our personalized approach to eyecare, in which we emphasize in-depth time spent with patients versus seeing as many patients as possible.
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We market this approach on our web site, so patients can see what we’re all about as soon as they start researching us. In addition, our staff takes the time to explain the Direct Care approach to all patients who call for an appointment. We have a script we use to explain how our office works and how we file insurance for patients.
I think that Direct Care is the way of the future for private-practice optometrists. With Direct Care, and the support we have from Anagram, we can set ourselves apart from competitors and enjoy eyecare again. Increased revenue per transaction allows us to have longer exam times and include testing that we would otherwise have to nickel-and-dime patients for. It feels like a more honest way to practice, and patients really appreciate us spending more time with them.
Anagram is our partner in helping us provide the kind of eyecare our patients truly deserve, while making possible a mode of practice that is extremely rewarding.