Benefits of Dental Membership Plans
A dental membership plan offers key advantages for both practices and patients. For dentists, it bypasses the hassle of dealing with insurance companies. For patients, it makes dental care more affordable.
Other benefits of dental membership plans for practices include:
- Attracting new clients.
- Retaining more existing patients.
- Increasing practice revenue.
- Establishing and developing patient loyalty.
- Maximizing practice resale value.
Subscription-based in-office membership programs also play an important role in providing quality oral healthcare for individuals without dental insurance or with no dental plan from an employer.
Avoiding Insurance Headaches
Alongside dental office marketing and recruiting admin staff, dealing with insurance companies is one of the main day-to-day challenges dentists face – a time-consuming, cumbersome workload that intensifies as patient count increases.
Claims have to be filed and payments made to insurance companies, and the insurance may not cover the type of dental care a patient needs.
Insurance is historically regarded as the standard financial model for healthcare, including dental treatments, but as well as posing admin problems for dental offices, research indicates that dentists and patients alike lose out financially.
Dental membership programs eliminate the problems caused by third-party insurance company involvement between you and your patients.
One leading advocate of dental membership plans, Dr. Gregory Yen, says the third-party paying concept interferes with dental treatment and is “unsustainable in the long term.”
Widening Your Practice Patient Base
Although in-house dental membership plans avoid insurance company middlemen, most patients who sign up for a plan are those with no dental insurance, including:
- Self-employed individuals.
- Workers whose employers don’t provide a dental plan.
Over 108 million people in the U.S. don’t have dental insurance, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
They provide a potential source of extra income for practices throughout the States with a dental membership plan that allows them to tap into a ready market of patients and prospective clients who may be putting off or foregoing dental care on financial grounds.
More people in the U.S. are keeping their teeth for life, resulting in more cases of tooth decay and gum disease as they get older.
Employers who offer dental coverage aren't required to continue it after retirement, or they may change premiums and benefits. Many individuals on retirement, therefore, find they’re unable to get the dental care they’ve become accustomed to, and if they want to buy insurance it can be expensive and limit what they need.
Medicare, which provides health insurance coverage to nearly all people 65 or older, doesn’t typically cover dental care. And private dental insurance options may not provide good value for the premiums, says the ADA Health Policy Institute.
All this means paying for dental care is a serious concern for many older people, particularly those on a low income, a third of whom had untreated cavities from 2011 to 2014, according to the American Dental Association.
An estimated 42 million people in the U.S. are self-employed.
For people like entrepreneurs, local small-business owners, and freelancers, figuring out individual dental insurance may take a back seat to other more immediate pressing issues, and the cost of premiums can be a concern.
Insurance companies say many Americans neglect their oral health when they don’t have the advantage of insurance through an employer.
Employees with no dental insurance
Working for someone else is no guarantee of dental health coverage.
More than half the population of the U.S. has no employer-sponsored health plan. Those that do have medical coverage may still not get dental care – bosses aren’t legally required to offer dental – or vision – benefits to workers.
Consolidating Patient Loyalty
Patient loyalty is imperative to generate recurring revenue for dental practices, and a dental membership program can play a crucial role in cementing a bond of trust between you and your patients – in the same way, companies like Costco and Amazon run highly successful subscription models.
According to government health experts, one of the most important factors influencing a patient’s decision to stay with a particular practice is the level of time and attention the dentist devotes to the patient.
A dental membership plan shows patients that:
- You care about people with no dental insurance.
- You understand their financial concerns when it comes to dental care.
- You’re willing to help them resolve these issues.
- You’re capable of exceeding their expectations.
A dental membership plan enables patients to feel part of your oral healthcare family – an active partner in their dental treatment.
It also allows you to get to know your patients on a more personal level and lets them get to know you, which goes a long way toward patient retention.
Maintaining patient loyalty can also bring you new dental membership plan clients through word-of-mouth referrals.
Taking Better Care of Your Patients
A dental membership strategy not only fosters allegiance from patients but also enables you to take better care of them at prices they can afford.
For instance, membership plan patients are less likely to skip check-ups or fail to show up for follow-up appointments, because they want to take full advantage of all the benefits of their membership.
The discounted treatments in a dental membership package encourage patients to accept treatment recommendations more often, which means more revenue as well as facilitating higher standards of dental care.
Streamlining Dental Membership Programs
Benefits of dental membership plans – with patients paying an annual or monthly subscription to access discounted treatments – include growing your practice with increased revenue and patient loyalty while lessening your reliance on dental insurance.
Many dentists who’ve implemented a successful membership program say it was one of the smartest business decisions they’ve made.
Research suggests that dental membership patients take double the number of treatments compared with patients with no insurance and see their dentist up to three times more regularly.
However, not all dental membership programs get off to a good start. Those that do succeed have a plan that’s easy to use, and they implement streamlining measures such as specialized dental membership plan software and in-house payment plans. This is where DentalROI can help. Our unique and streamlined software is easy to manage for office staff and easy for patients to use. Call today to schedule your free demo.