Should your dental practice offer membership plans?
| January 13, 2021
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, 37 million Americans do not have dental insurance. As a result, dental practices have begun offering their own personalized and affordable dental membership plans to patients. In total, less than 20% of dental practices currently have memberships. However, this figure is growing rapidly due to the adoption of dental membership plan software.
But how do these plans work? And are they a worthwhile investment for dental practices?
Dental practices should weigh the costs and benefits of membership plans and become familiar with the software tools that enable them.
Dental Membership Plan Overview
Dental membership plans are similar to other subscription-based services that you are familiar with, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Patients enroll in membership programs where they pay subscription fees on a monthly or yearly basis. In return, patients receive care at a discounted rate.
Typically, patients pay $20 to $30 per month for their membership plans. In return, they are eligible for two free cleanings per year, and receive 10-20% off additional services. By increasing loyalty and creating a new revenue line, membership plans can become lucrative for dental practices.
Dental Membership Plan Benefits
Dental membership plans offer a variety of benefits for dental practices and their patients. The most notable benefits are listed below.
Cuts out the insurance middleman
Both dentists and patients can agree that dealing with insurance companies is a hassle. Many dentists are frustrated with filing claims while insurance companies eat into their bottom line. For patients, dental insurance is expensive and restricts access to practices that are in-network. Dental membership plans remove insurance companies from the equation.
With the membership model, dentists dictate their own fee schedules, and receive payments directly from their patients. Dental practices end up making more money and are able to pass the savings along to their patients.
Attracts uninsured patients
Uninsured patients often don’t receive the care they need because they perceive dental care to be too expensive. Who could blame them? Insurance companies often have opaque pricing with high deductibles, premiums, and copays.
Dental membership programs have transparent pricing with discounted rates. Membership plans are far more attractive to uninsured patients and often lead to higher case acceptance rates.
Reduces time spent on claims
As we mentioned before, filing insurance claims steals precious time from you and your front-office staff. Maintaining high claim acceptance rates is difficult, and every dental professional is familiar with being on hold with insurance companies and dealing with rejected claims. Dental membership plans lift this burden from your practice, so you can focus on providing excellent care for your patients.
Dental Membership Plan Software
A barrier to offering dental membership plans is the notion that implementation is a time-consuming process. However, dental membership plan software allows dentists to quickly set up and efficiently maintain membership programs.
Dental membership plan solutions automate important processes and manage the membership programs on behalf of dental practices. This allows dentists and front-office staff to focus on more important tasks such as offering exceptional care for patients. The most important features found in dental membership plan software are listed below.
The most popular dental membership plan solutions are Kleer, Dental HQ, and illumitrac. In general, these solutions cost a few hundred dollars a month. The software is typically priced as a flat fee per location, or a few dollars per member per month.
Configurable dental membership plans
Solutions like Kleer allow practices to create custom care plans that fit their needs. Practices can set their own pricing and treatments to include in the plans. Practices can also offer discounts for groups and families.
Automatic payment collection
Dental membership plan solutions often include features that allow practices to automatically receive recurring payments from their patients. This reduces administrative workload and eliminates the need for front-office staff to chase down outstanding balances. This is likely the most important feature found in membership plan software from a financial perspective.
Dental membership plan software typically also includes an analytics dashboard that tracks revenue and monitors your performance. Tracking key metrics helps increase memberships and promotes practice growth.
Dental membership plans are gaining momentum in practices across the country. This movement is being catalyzed by dental membership plan software that makes it easier to implement and manage an in-house plan.
In general, starting a dental membership plan is a better idea for dental practices with a large uninsured population, or those looking for a new revenue stream. Practices with less than 250 patients are better off managing their in-house plans themselves. Larger practices with over 250 patients will likely benefit from using dental membership plan software, which costs a few hundred dollars per month.
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