Member Plans… Do they really work? by Special Guest: Barb Stackhouse

By Megan Lohman October 12, 2023 3 min read

Since 2005, Barbara Stackhouse, RDH, M.Ed. BC-CAHP, D.PSc has helped over 400 dentists add thousands in revenue to their practice every month and boost profits by 5-10%. A mastery level certified Profit First Professional and Profit Advisor, Barbara is an expert at cutting expenses and increasing profit margins without compromising patient care. Learn more about her at

As with anything new you might want to implement in a dental practice, there are always a million questions. Common questions that pop up when considering membership plans are:

What if …

  • 95% of my patients already have insurance?
  • I’m a Fee for Service (no insurance) practice?
  • I’m somewhere in the middle with some insurance and some FFS?
  • How will this benefit the patients any differently than insurance?
  • How will this benefit the practice?
  • Should I manage the plan myself or opt in and use one of the many platforms out there?
  • Which platform is the best?

I was skeptical at first and didn’t understand the true benefit of membership plans in a dental practice.

I wondered why a dentist would want to discount their fees if the patient was already a non-insurance cash paying patient. But I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

So I started researching all the different platforms out there. I was on a mission to learn what each of them had to say. I found congruency in their messaging. Pretty much, they all were about attracting new patients to the practice with an offering of discounted fees.

Every dental professional knows getting and keeping new patients is highly desirable so a member plan that can assist with this goal would be great. The goal of the member plan is to grow your patient numbers and grow your practice.

Growing patient numbers is a great goal for the practice but what about the benefits to the patient? When I was looking for a great platform, I heard consistently the patients will be attracted to the office because of the discounted fees. True. Yes, everyone loves a good deal. But are we missing something else here?

I’m so thankful for the folks at Plan Forward.

They helped me to see beyond the typical membership platform to really understand how the practice and the patients benefit from using their platform. Truly a win – win! (we’re glad too 😉)

Plan Forward, unlike the other platforms out there, was created by a working dentist for other working dentists. Dr. Jason has a thriving practice in Indiana. His business partner Megan, is a former Financial Coordinator/ Assistant from his office. Together, this dynamic duo created a great platform and amazing process, that, in my opinion, is the best! It’s the only one I recommend for my clients to use.

Plan Forward was created after much market research. In fact they continue to gather data and study the numbers to confirm any action they take regarding upgrades or changes to the platform. Their research led to a deeper understanding of member plans and the benefits that come with using them.

Worth noting is what they found with patient behavior. Patients who are members of a ‘health’ or ‘wellness’ plan actually show up for their appointments more often. They receive more preventive care appointments than those patients on regular insurance plans. They also do more dentistry without hesitation than those on a traditional insurance plan.

The greatest benefit to the patient is a higher level of oral health that comes from the commitment to preventive care appointments. The ‘wellness’ or ‘health’ membership plan provides the tool and affordable resource making it easy for patients to commit. Yes, patients want the discount but more importantly they want fewer dental appointments.

Yes, it’s true, patients want fewer appointments!

Think about it. By committing to a ‘wellness’ member plan, patients show up for preventive care and actually reduce the need for dental care in the long run. And when they do need dental care, they are highly motivated to take care of it right away thus reducing the risk of it getting worse if they wait. All of this together sets them up for a future of ‘less dentistry.’

Beyond these key benefits to the patient, the Plan Forward platform has a simple dashboard designed for the practice needs. Because it was designed by a working dentist in a busy practice, everything the team needs to stay in communication with patients on the plan is either automated or at their fingertips. This saves time and keeps the plan moving forward and growing.

Imagine having a practice full of committed patients desiring care, having a significant regular monthly deposit in your bank account (even during a shut-down). And imagine loyal patients referring others to your practice.

This peace of mind is possible. I know because I see the dentists I coach using Plan Forward with success.

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