One of the most common responses I hear from dentists and office managers is “we already have an in-house membership plan in place, but thanks for reaching out.” My immediate thought is “how much of an impact is it creating for your BUSINESS?”
Most providers think having a plan checks the “membership plan” box, and they move on. Yes, while having some kind of organized membership plan in place does help you check that box, and it helps your patients because they are getting discounts, is it really doing anything for your business?
- Is your MONTHLY membership revenue covering any of your major expenses (i.e. payroll, rent/mortgage, your insurance adjustment)?
- Are your membership patients the most profitable patients you see?
- Are your patients choosing your plan over traditional insurance plans?
- Are you always renewing those membership plans on the plan renewal date so you aren’t missing out on revenue?
- Is it reducing administrative time per patient?
Throughout the years of talking with dental professionals about in-house membership plans, three specific categories have emerged: Resistors, Attemptors, and Trailblazers.
Resistors are the folks who simply do not see the value of an in-house membership plan and want nothing to do with the topic. In their perspective, they are just slicing their bottom line and offering discounts to patients who are already paying their full fees. The team is not on board and they are too busy to add yet another administrative task to their plate.
The Attemptors are those who have created a plan to check the box so they can feel good about having something to help uninsured patients. They are managing it with an excel spreadsheet and likely only offer an annual payment option. Their patients accept it because they get discounts and it covers their preventive care. It’s a “nice to have” but isn’t really making a huge business impact.
Then you have your Trailblazers. These are likely early adopters who implemented a plan years ago because they recognize the value of loyal cash patients. Many times these are fee-for-service practices (or close to it) and are willing to do whatever they can to create loyalty without signing the evil insurance contract. They love their pricing and revenue independence and freedom to practice without the constraints of a third-party. Their plans are generating thousands of dollars every month and it is a significant revenue stream for their business. Treatment acceptance is high, loyalty is strong, the staff can advocate for the plan, and they all see the value in growing it. The membership plan in their practice is the best thing since sliced bread and they cannot understand why some dentists don’t see it.