Is a Membership Plan Right for Your Dental Practice?

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that owning a dental practice means you wear many hats. From providing quality dental care and maintaining patient relationships to the day-to-day decisions that affect your bottom line, it all comes with the cost of doing business. So how do you balance speed and efficiency with new avenues for patient care? One answer comes in the form of a membership plan. Here are reasons to consider instituting one at your dental practice. 

What it is

Although not technically a dental insurance plan, dental savings plans provide patients affordable access to dental care with discounts on most dental services after an annual membership fee for access to a network of participating dentists and specialists. A membership plan is an internal, self-administered insurance plan. Much like an insurance premium, the fee for participating in a membership plan offers certain benefits at a discount. It’s all part of the evolution to make dental practices less dependent on preferred provider organizations (PPOs).

How it works

As a result of the never-ending insurance battle, new models of patient payment are entering into the dentistry space, such as pay-as-you-go, full prepayment discounts, third-party financing and in-house payment plans, all of which make treatment options for patients more attainable. Dental practices are even beginning to explore the option of in-house membership plans for uninsured patients. If a patient needs a treatment or chooses an elective treatment that is not included in their membership plan, they are charged a customary fee. The dentist can design the plan based on what works best for both the patients and practice, so it doesn’t include “bundling” that is typical of PPO plans.

The benefits

Because fees are paid for the year in advance, there tends to be fewer no-show appointments. And even though services are provided at a discount, it is generally less than what a PPO provider offers. As for the patients, discounted services is the obvious benefit. Plus, those without dental insurance are able to receive treatment at a fixed cost, reducing the risk of losing patients while opening up the door to attract new patients. This is all especially true for dental service organizations that cater to shifting patient preferences.

What’s next?

Contact the experts at Professional Transition Strategies to learn more ways to keep your dental practice on top of its game.