At the end of 2016 nearly 25% of Americans didn’t have dental insurance. That’s 74.3 million people who have no assistance in paying for dental care—or who may simply avoid going to the dentist at all for fear they wouldn’t be able to afford their treatment.
That’s a large population waiting for the right dental practice to come up with a way for them to get affordable dental care. Will that practice be yours?
To connect with this insurance-less population traditional marketing and prospecting channels typically aren’t enough to sway them. Another value proposition that demonstrates you understand the importance of fitting dental care into a person’s overall budget.
One way to do this is to offer an in-practice dental membership plan.
The benefits of a dental membership plan are two-fold.
- They provide a way for people without insurance to have more affordable access to dental care than paying for everything out of pocket.
- They provide a way for dental practices to target and acquire patients without insurance who may currently avoid going to the dentist.
First, for those who may not know, let us explain how exactly a dental membership plan works. When a practice offers a membership program to patients without insurance that patient enters into an agreement with the practice to pay a monthly fee in exchange for paying reduced rates on dental services. Often, these plans will provide preventive care (like regular hygiene appointments, x-rays, etc.) for free as part of the monthly fee and then provide discounts on other, more involved treatments, such as fillings and extractions
This type of plan can be very appealing to un-insured individuals because it provides financial support similar to a traditional insurance plan. For a reasonable and stable monthly fee they know that they can have access to preventive dental care and be more prepared to pay for additional treatment if and when necessary without the painful knowledge the treatment will come entirely out of pocket.
In addition, since the plan is carried out entirely through the dental practice there is the added benefit of having more transparency to what an individual will have to pay for treatment (since there isn’t the need to file claims with an insurance company). This can be very reassuring to people who are wary about possible hidden costs of oral health care and allow them to feel more confident connecting with a dental practice.
In turn, offering this type of program in your own practice can be a great way to set your practice apart from competitors and make it a first choice among potential patients without insurance. Keeping in mind your budget and how much you need to charge monthly in order to provide the free or discounted services is essential, but once you have a plan in place you could position yourself well for acquiring new patients grateful for your willingness to accommodate them.
Getting the word out through various advertising channels and sharing details of the program on your website will be the first step to welcoming uninsured individuals into your practice and helping them get the dental care they need.
If you’ve considered setting up a dental membership plan for your practice or have already let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear your feedback on this innovative idea to help expand dental care coverage.