It's not a secret that 2020 has been one of the weirdest years in recorded history. And we are using the term "weird" pretty liberally here! But being 8 months into a global pandemic does give us the opportunity to understand it and its impacts on our society and economy a little better. There are certainly obvious areas of concern but what about the ones that are not so obvious?
With job loss, comes the obvious loss of income but what about insurance? Many Americans rely on their job for their health, dental and vision insurance. As the pandemic wears on and the unemployment rate increases, many are finding themselves left without benefits.
"More than 40% of the private U.S. labor force is employed by small businesses, defined as those employing fewer than 500 workers. Given that more than 60% of the working-age population relies on employer-sponsored health insurance, the economic crisis is poised to spark an insurance coverage crisis." catalyst.nejm.org
As dental professionals we know that the dental insurance model is broken and has been for sometime. And we know that dental insurance providers are often the ones making the care decisions for our patients based on coverage and limitations.
With the pandemic raging on with no clear end in sight, many businesses are forced to make hard decisions about what costs can be eliminated and what can not.
"Although health insurance is a top priority for small businesses, in the wake of the pandemic-related economic challenges, nearly one-third of survey respondents indicated they were not sure they could keep up with premium payments beyond August 15, 2020. The resulting disruption in health insurance coverage could have significant impacts on health care access and delivery." catalyst.nejm.org
Although there are still many unknowns with the pandemic, one thing is becoming more and more clear. Dental insurance - an already broken system - is being badly impacted by the pandemic. Patients are losing their dental benefits and that poses a great risk to practices.
According to market research, uninsured patients visit the dentist 3x's less often. This also means their treatment plan acceptance is much much lower. While uninsured patients value their oral health, the concern over unknown costs keep them from routine visits. But here's the good news, 89% of uninsured patients are interested in purchasing a dental plan if it has transparent pricing options that are affordable.
And that's the silver lining for dentists. The pandemic has allowed patients to look up and question some of the institutional practices that run our country, like insurance. Many are not liking what they are seeing and want to make a switch. Cue Dental Membership Plans.
By offering a dental membership program, your patients become loyal to your practice and not swayed or stopped by third party decision makers. There are no limitations in coverage or surprise costs, paperwork and prior authorizations are gone! And your patients teeth and overall health are well cared for. What could be better? (We didn't even mention that it will create a recurring revenue stream for your practice, but that's for another blog.)
As the world continues to change and react to the pandemic, patients and dentists are beginning to feel the impacts and looking for alternatives to insurance. How will your practice respond to the new world?
To learn how Plan Forward can help you leverage your patient base, or for more information about Plan Forward, schedule time to speak with our team of dentistry experts.