The industry has experienced a steady decline in reimbursement rates over the past two decades. Recent Morgan Stanley research reported a 6.7% decline for 2018 and anticipates another 8.7% decline for 2019.i Combining declining insurance reimbursement rates with the rising costs of operating a practice not only means mean less income for Dentists, but also less profit for the practice. This is not a great formula for success and the downward spiral is only going to get worse for practice owners. Meanwhile, the insurance companies continue to increase their profit margins benefitting from the hard work of dentists and their teams.
If dentists don’t act soon to improve the financial health of their practices, they are just going to sink deeper into what we call, “The Reimbursement Crisis.”
It is now more important than ever for dental practices to recognize the issue and know that without a significant shift in revenue generation, the problem will only get worse. They may not be able to fix it directly, but what practices can do is prepare by exploring new profit-generating solutions to make up for the large chunk of income being lost each month. Better yet, dentists can create new and scalable revenue streams without even having to look outside the front doors of their very own practice. How you ask? By designing and launching a Dental Membership Plan that benefits both the dental practice AND its uninsured patients.
Take Back Control.
Dental Membership Plans are dental care plans that practices offer directly to their uninsured patients. Patients pay a monthly or annual subscription directly to the practice for preventive care and receive access to discounts off other treatment. Generating more revenue from your uninsured patients through Membership Plans are a great solution to address the “Reimbursement Crisis.” Why? Because Membership Plans – when developed with the right partner – naturally place the control back in the hands of dentists and the practice. Practices get the freedom to design and customize plans to fit the specific needs of their dental business and patient base. They can do this because they have complete control when it comes to setting up details of their plan. For instance, practices can set their own subscription prices, treatment protocol, fee schedule, and any additional discounts they’d like to offer patients such as restoration services. Also, practices receive 100% of the payments made by the patients! Giving back control to dental practices, enabling the practice to design a customized plan and having the practice receive all patient payments is not something other Membership Plan providers offer. But it is a key component of the Kleer platform and is the main driver behind our success. As a matter of fact, when onboarding a new practice, a phrase we say frequently is: “It’s your practice. It’s your plan!”
Make Uninsured Patients Feel Special.
You may not be aware of this reality, but your uninsured patients do value dental care for themselves and their families. They may not be actively looking for it but in the back of their
minds, they know they need it. And Membership Plan works as a great incentive for uninsured patients to schedule appointments, keep appointments, and accept more treatment. Here’s why: recent research shows that Membership Plan patients truly understand and value the importance of maintaining their oral health. They also understand that oral health is closely linked to their overall health. What stops them from going to the dentist is they fear it will be too costly or because they don’t have coverage options – it’s really that simple. So, an easy solution is providing uninsured patients with access to dental care plans that are simple and affordable, (i.e., a Membership Plan). Patients get better oral health, and practices finally have an option that enables them to drive and keep more revenue. Now that is what is really a “win-win”.
Boost Practice Profitability and Cash Flow.
In summary, I believe Membership Plans are the best solution to the Reimbursement Crisis. They create a new and repeatable revenue stream and give practices full control as they set the subscription prices and make decisions over the treatment protocol, fee schedule, and any discounts being offered for restorative procedures. Additionally, practice profitability will increase because Membership Plans drive more and more regular patient visits and increase treatment acceptance.
Membership Plans are the Answer. Kleer is the Solution!
Kleer strives to create positive change for the dental industry. That is why we have spent a great deal of time and resources building the best Membership Plan platform available. With the Kleer platform, a practice can easily design and launch their Membership Plan is less than 15 minutes. Kleer is free to implement, customized for your practice, and features like auto- renewal, payment processing, patient self-service tools, and marketing support are all built right in.
If you’re looking to get out of “The Reimbursement Trap” and set your practice on the path to profitability, we’d like to hear from you. Also, watch the Reimbursement Crisis video to learn more about declining reimbursements or visit kleer.com to take a “Dentist Product Tour.”
i Source: Morgan Stanley Research, Company Data, Alphawise