As you begin developing your in-office dental membership plan, it’s important to think about the different patient groups who will benefit most from such an offering.
Many patients receive the benefit of traditional dental insurance, because approximately 90 percent of employers with more than 500 employees offer dental benefits. However, when you look at companies of all sizes, that number drops to roughly 50 percent of companies offering dental coverage, according to Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans.
Those most likely to be uninsured are children, the self-employed, and Medicare beneficiaries.
Patients 65+ on Medicare For patients enrolled in Medicare, routine dental coverage is not available without the purchase of a supplemental plan. It’s important for patients in this age group to receive routine and preventative dental care, such as cleanings, x-rays, fillings, extractions, and dentures. Older adults may take medications which can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth often leads to an increase in oral bacteria and reduced salivary flow, which contribute to the advancement of tooth decay and periodontal disease. As of 2016, only 12% of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in some form of dental insurance. Fewer than half of those beneficiaries visited a dentist in the preceding year.
Self-employed Many self-employed professionals, small business owners, freelancers or individuals working in the gig-economy, and even millennials who often find dental insurance to be expensive or difficult to navigate are looking for alternatives to traditional dental insurance. In today’s market, we’re all used to subscription models. If you were to ask anyone you know—or even a stranger on the street—they likely have a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Subscribe & Save, Spotify, Dollar Shave Club, StitchFix, or one of the many other subscriptions available today. You can now be part of that subscription model. You can offer patients preventive care for an affordable monthly payment. It’s your plan, so you have the flexibility to offer your patients the care package you design specific to your dental practice.
Current patients going through life changes Your existing patients may lose their dental insurance coverage when going through life transitions such as a change in employers or job loss, divorce where the spouse holds the dental policy, or children aging out of their parents’ policies at age 26 or as they graduate college. Patients may call to cancel existing appointments or procedures due to these life events, but with an in-office membership plan in place, your team can provide the option to keep the appointments if the patients join the membership plan. For this reason, it’s important your team understands the benefits of the membership plan and how the membership plan compares to typical dental insurance.
So, as you develop your in-office dental membership plan, think about what would be beneficial to these three specific groups in terms of services. Maybe it’s the traditional type of membership plan that includes two annual cleanings, x-rays, and exams for a determined monthly payment, and all other services are offered at a discount.
Or, maybe you offer something a little more innovative. Perhaps you include the typical routine preventative care and all other services are offered at set prices or at a discount. Alternatively, you could increase the incentive for certain procedures you are promoting (i.e. deep cleaning or Scaling and Root Planing (SRP), cosmetic work, etc.).
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your plan, but make sure your offer will appeal to patients across the board.
Do you need help creating your in-office dental membership plan? Let us help you develop the perfect plan for your patients. Set up a time to speak with us, and let’s Plan Forward!