Sweeping dental practice closures due to the COVID-19 crisis have created a backlog of patients with dental care treatment needs, from preventative to restorative and cosmetic. When practice doors re-open, patients will want to address their oral care needs, but they will be sensitive to price due to job, salary and benefit cuts.
As dental practices prepare to re-open, having an expertly designed and priced membership plan will be critical. Patients will seek budget-friendly care options, and dentists will seek ways to jump start their practices with additional streams of revenue.
This article explores how implementing a membership plan now as part of your COVID-19 recovery strategy will help you bounce back when the crisis lifts.
• COVID-19 has created a record 26.8 million U.S. jobless claims as of April 23, 2020, leaving many patients uninsured and many others feeling financially insecure • Cost and coverage are the primary reasons uninsured patients avoid the dentist • Membership plans create a mutually beneficial relationship between patients and practices • Membership plan patients visit two to three times more than uninsured patients and generate twice the revenue • Start a successful membership plan following 12 best practices from Kleer
Give Your Patients Budget-Friendly Care with a Dental Membership Plan
As of April 23, 2020, U.S. jobless claims hit a record of 26.8 million people. Losses of jobs, salaries and employer-sponsored dental benefits will reduce the number of insured patients at your practice and put pressure on cash paying patients.
What does this mean for your practice? Your business is at risk. Cost and coverage are the primary reasons uninsured patients avoid dental visits and treatment. An October 2018 Dental Market Insights Report by Finch Brands specified reasons patients gave for not seeing a dentist in the past two years. Seventy percent of those who responded said “it’s too expensive,” and 69 percent said, “I don’t have insurance.” COVID-19 will reinforce these reasons.
The Finch Brands report also found some good news. These same uninsured patients do in fact value their oral health and want access to budget-friendly care. In fact, 89 percent responded that they were interested in purchasing a dental plan so long as it is simple, affordable and transparent.
As your practice re-opens, post-COVID, be prepared to serve price-sensitive patients with a dental membership plan. With dental membership plans, patients pay a monthly or annual subscription to their dentist in return for preventive care and discounts on other services. Having an in-house plan in place will enable your patients to access the budget-friendly care they seek.
Membership Plans are Mutually Beneficial for Your Patients and Practice
A membership plan will give patients exactly what they want. Payments are affordable, prices are transparent, coverage is easy to understand, there are no hassles like deductibles, pre-approvals and annual maximums. Plus, patient benefits start the minute they join.
With your membership plan, patients will: • Access simple, affordable and personalized care • Choose from budget-friendly payment options (monthly and annual) • Receive benefits immediately upon sign-up • Bypass the costs and hassles of insurance—no deductibles, waiting periods, claims denials or paperwork For the practice, dentists are 100% control, setting their own fees and designing their own treatment plans—all without the costs, constraints and hassles of the insurance middlemen. And by making it easier and more affordable for patients to get the care they need, they become more loyal and accept more treatment.
If your plan is designed and priced correctly, your membership plan patients will visit two to three times more than uninsured patients and generate twice the revenue.
Data collected from Kleer customer practices proves membership plan patients will be your best patients. This graph shows the average results for practices on the Kleer Platform and shows that uninsured patients with a membership plan generate 2.1X more revenue than uninsured patients without it.
12 Best Practices for Starting a Successful Membership Plan at Your Practice
Implementing a membership plan at your practice will be a great step in jump starting your practice as the crisis lifts. To help you get started, Kleer has developed the following best practices. These guidelines are based on our experience working with thousands of dental practices in developing successful membership plans.
• Provide comprehensive treatment. Include preventive care—usually two cleanings, two exams, and routine X-rays each year—and discounts on additional treatment.
• Provide transparent pricing—and price it right. Sharing pricing builds patient trust. Price your plans to achieve the optimal balance of patient value and practice results.
• Ensure compliance. Dental plans must adhere to multiple regulations, including HIPAA, consumer protection laws, and various state laws.
• Make it simple to join. It should be easy for patients to sign up from any device.
• Make it easy to pay—especially now. Consider whether you will offer monthly or yearly payment plans or both.
More now than ever, patients will appreciate the option to pay monthly installments.
• Make it immediate. Begin benefits the moment a patient signs up.
• Make it hassle free. Eliminate sign-up fees, deductibles, waiting periods, annual maximums, and pre-approvals.
• Assign a plan coordinator. Assign one person in your office to manage and track the plan.
• Get your team on board. Make sure all members of your team, including the doctors, understand and promote the benefits of a membership plan to your patients.
• Offer your plan to everyone! Don’t pick and choose to whom you offer your membership plan. Remember, Kleer’s data proves membership plan patients are worth 2.1X the value of the average uninsured patient.
• Set goals and track progress. You can start small and then build. Initially, set a goal to sign up 25 percent of the uninsured patients you see each week.
• Promote the plan. Promote it in your office, on your website, and through social media.
How Kleer Can Help Your Practice
The Kleer team is committed to supporting dental practices through this unprecedented time. We remain open and are assisting dental practices every day to stand up membership plans. Kleer can handle all your membership needs virtually—from educational demos, to design and pricing consultations to contracting, implementation, training and support. And, the implementation is free, so there is no reason not to start your membership plan today.
Kleer’s cloud-based membership plan platform is user-friendly and makes managing your membership plan simple—from patient self-service tools to intuitive plan management tools, fast electronic payment processing and automated renewals. Additionally, we provide a full suite of marketing and support tools, and we will help you optimize your plan and grow your membership enrollment by analyzing plan performance and helping you implement best practices.
Schedule a consultation with a membership plan expert at Kleer, here: go.kleer.com/profitabledentist-covid