The Downside to Dental Membership Plans (Spoiler Alert – There Isn’t One!)

By Megan Lohman October 17, 2023 2 min read

I recently had a call with a wonderful dentist in southern California. She is considering implementing a dental membership plan into her practice.  She knew the basics on how it worked and had a pretty good understanding of the whole thing. But she repeatedly said “Ok, I love this. I’m sold. All of this is great. So what else? What’s more of the upside? Sell me on it.” 

We had already touched on the high-level benefits. We also drilled down into some of the numbers and data. I shared with her some case studies and results on increasing revenue from uninsured. The higher case acceptance, the potential of showing 10-15% (or more) in overall collections as recurring revenue will increase valuation, etc. And the big one she repeatedly said “and obviously patient retention. I want to keep my patients here.”

After talking for 45 minutes and having a wonderful conversation, again saying she loved it and was completely sold, she still left the call asking, “What else?”

I have been working with dental membership plans for nearly a decade. I’ve done them every which way including the wrong way. I have never once preferred to work with an insured OR uninsured patient over a membership patient.  I can confidently say this is true for the clinical staff as well.  It is SO MUCH EASIER dealing with membership patients in every role in the practice. From presenting treatment plans, to estimating out of pocket expenses, providing routine care or taking x-rays, recommending fluoride; it is ALWAYS easier dealing with a membership patient. And cheaper.

Another, often overlook concept, is how often dental benefits change. Just because your patient is insured and in-network today doesn’t mean he/she will be in six months.  Dental benefits are constantly changing for people.  There is no better answer for your existing patients than “Oh no worries, we have our in-house plan. We have you covered.” Boom. Done. Your patient is happy and appreciative, and ultimately still your patient!  

I guess if you’re pushing me on it, the one downside would be losing money if it’s not priced appropriately.  You have to know the numbers and make sure it’s making financial sense for the practice and your patients.  As long as you know that, and you have a good management process in place so your team can confidently grow and manage the plan, there is no downside. We’d love to talk to you more about plan options, schedule a call below!

Already have a dental membership plan? Great!! But perhaps it could use some improvement? If you aren’t feeling 100% confident in your dental membership plan there might be a problem. Is it profitable? Do your patients understand the value? Is it positively impacting your business? If you answered no to any of these questions, we can help. More often than not, when someone isn’t happy with their current plan, it’s usually because it wasn’t set up correctly from the beginning.  

Take our self-guided assessment here.

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