Best Practice Methods for Determining Fee Schedules

Keeping your fees up to date is essential; however determining what to base your fee schedule on is not necessarily a simple task. I rely on a variety of schedules available to dentists when setting my fees. The Dental Economics fee schedule is a great resource. I also rely heavily on the UCR table that’s available through Udell Webb Leadership. I think it’s important to use a variety of sources and to check them often.

I’ve found that there are many dentists out there who really aren’t confident about their fees. They worry that they’re pricing themselves too high or that their UCRs are being stifled by the insurance companies. I think that’s a real problem. You need to be confident in your fees. If you’re not, it’s a sign that you’re not evaluating them often enough.

As dentists we want to reach as many patients in need of dental care as possible. You cannot do this if your practice is not running at the optimum efficiency. Taking the time to evaluate your pricing and having the confidence to make the necessary adjustments will keep everything running smoothly, and ultimately lead to an increased capacity and growth of your practice.

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Dental Practice Marketing: Why It’s More Than Just Advertising

As a dentist, I’m passionate about my profession because it allows me to make a living while improving people’s lives. As the founder of Quality Dental Plan, I’m motivated to share QDP with dentists because it allows me to help more people than ever before.

Our challenge as dentists is changing patients’ beliefs about dentistry. People don’t realize how important routine preventive care is. Whether they don’t think they have time to see the dentist, or they believe it is too expensive, or if they are uninsured, too many Americans choose to skip routine care.

They often only call us when they have pain, which of course we understand is often much more expensive to treat than if they would have been coming in for regular checkups. And the problem is that pain doesn’t always accompany the more serious problems. 7 out of 10 cases of oral cancers aren’t detected until the late stages, so even though it’s 90% curable when detected early, it has one of the highest mortality rates of all cancers.

When we are able to reach more patients, we keep our communities healthier. You know that patients are out there who desperately need your care, but they are either unaware of you, or they don’t believe they can actually afford regular dental care. Dental practice marketing raises awareness for your practice, and promoting your offerings, such as QDP, can get more patients through the front door.

You may not believe in the power of dental practice marketing, or enjoy the process, but realize there is a greater message to be spread through your advertising. You aren’t just promoting your services – you’re spreading the word that preventive dentistry is important, and affordable, for everyone.

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The Science Behind the Dental Membership Plan

Members-only stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club have revolutionized the retail industry in recent years. Professors from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools recently conducted a study to find out exactly what consumers find so appealing about these types of stores. The study indicated that it’s more than just low prices; it’s the presence of membership fees alone that lead shoppers to often buy more goods than they can fit in their car. They believed that the rise in widespread popularity of stores like these demonstrates that consumers:

  • Equate membership plans with savings
  • Consider these retailers more exclusive
  • Perceive added value in members-only stores

So how does the study impact dentists? Our dental patients are consumers too! Just as a Costco membership taps into proven buyer behavior, a dental membership plan in your practice can help build value, foster loyalty and increase case acceptance leading to meaningful practice growth. Implementing an in-house dental membership plan signals to patients that your dentistry is valuable, a value they know they will not get at any other practice, leading to increased patient loyalty. And because of the money they are able to save on preventive care, they will now be able to afford more treatment, increasing case acceptance.

A Costco-style dental membership plan can grow your practice by reinforcing the value of your services while making sure your care remains affordable and accessible to your patients. Now that is buyer behavior worth tapping into!

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Providing Quality Dental Care at an Affordable Price

A staggering number of Americans, an estimated 127 million, lack dental insurance. While the recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased the availability and affordability of medical coverage, dental benefits continue to be viewed by the public as a luxury, instead of a necessity.

According to the American Dental Association, the ACA is only estimated to cover dental care for about 26 million Americans, mostly children and Medicare recipients, leaving the rest of the uninsured population wondering how to afford basic preventive dental care.

Providing genuine alternatives to traditional insurance is an increasingly important issue within the dental industry, evidenced by the fact that Forbes.com recently published an article titled When You Don’t Have Dental Insurance. The article addresses the growing issue of lack of access to affordable dental care, and suggests patients look for a dentist who offers a membership program, naming QDP as a prime example. Through these innovative programs like QDP, millions of uninsured Americans can now find the necessary dental care they need at a cost they can actually afford.

Dentists realize that with a dental membership plan, they are able to provide quality dental care at an affordable price to a greater number of patients in their communities without having to surrender to the hassles of insurance companies. Dentists are happy and their patients can finally enjoy peace of mind, making QDP a true win-win scenario for both patients and dentists.

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Alternatives to Dental Insurance: Taking a Proactive Approach for Long-Term Success

Here on the QDP blog, we talk often about how important it is for dentists to have alternatives to dental insurance. It seems there are many more pitfalls of accepting insurance than actual upsides.

Never has this rang more true than for our dentist colleagues in Arizona. Last month, dentists there received a letter stating that a dentist can only remain “Premier” if they do not have contracts with other PPOs. In other words, if they accept PPOs, they have to be a Delta PPO provider or they’ll get dropped entirely by Delta. Read more about this change here at Unlock the PPO. This could pose serious financial ramifications for the dentists there, and speaks to the need for dentists to create other sources of practice growth, separate from insurance companies. And even though this particular situation is taking place in Arizona, there’s no telling if a change like this could become a reality in other states across the country.

Dentists need to know there are genuine alternatives to going in network. Options such as Quality Dental Plan help to increase new patient flow and make dentistry more affordable to your patients without giving up control of the practice’s fees to third parties. Consider taking a more proactive and long-term approach with QDP – for the good of your patients, and your practice! 

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Small Business Outreach: Providing Greater Access to Quality Dental Care

It is often said that the dental industry is recession-proof. However, I believe few of my dentist colleagues would argue that they didn’t feel the effects the “Great Recession”.

As we come out of the most recent economic downturn, now is a good time to plan ahead and put processes into place in order to protect your dental practice against future recessions. As dentists, we are well aware of the impacts oral health has on an individual’s overall health. We work to positively contribute to our communities by reaching as many patients as possible and providing them with quality dental care.

Local business owners sure felt the pinch of the recession. They incur a large expense in providing dental insurance for their employees. What if you could offer a real solution to your fellow business owners? What if you provided a dental plan at a much lower cost, but with greater benefits to their employees?

Offering a dental membership plan for your practice to local businesses often costs them less than group dental insurance and helps ensure that their employees and dependents get all of the preventive dental care they need. That means fewer absences as dental issues account for 164 million hours of missed work. And small business outreach gives dentists a chance to provide care to an even greater number of patients than before….a genuine win-win for the entire community!

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The Ultimate Patient Benefit

Did you know that up to 60% of Americans do not have dental insurance? In fact, cost is the #1 reason most people put off dental treatment. When looking to grow your practice, think about how you can reach this segment of the population. How can you best reach those who believe they cannot afford dentistry because of a lack of “coverage”?

By offering an in-house membership program like QDP to patients in your community, you are able to provide them with the benefits they are looking for without hacking away at your profits. Finally, patients have a dentist who welcomes them into the practice despite a lack of dental insurance, and you can attract fee-for-service patients. Patients know that with QDP, they – and their entire family – are able to get quality dental care at a reasonable cost because there’s no insurance middleman.

When someone joins your practice as a QDP member, they are able to access savings and benefits in your practice by paying you directly and in advance – they think of it like a club membership for dentistry! And you know you are giving them what they are really looking for – the ultimate patient benefit: peace of mind. Find out more here.

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Changing the Insurance Mentality at Your Dental Practice

It seems like more and more people are becoming insurance driven these days! I’m sure you and your team have heard patients and prospective patients express most of these concerns: “Do you offer dental insurance?” “If I had dental insurance I would get that crown done.” “If I had dental insurance I would have come in sooner.” “Can you do anything for me? I don’t have dental benefits.” In my experience, these and many other insurance and cost concerns are voiced by dental patients every day in practices across the country. The reality is that this kind of insurance mentality has become the new normal.

Now imagine if you could offer patients an alternative to dental insurance. Imagine if you could customize a dental plan which provided this large segment of the population with benefits created by you — all in a sustainable way for your practice? As a dentist, I believe that you deserve to be in complete control of the doctor-patient relationship, without 3rd party interference.

At QDP, we take a fresh approach and re-engineer the traditional insurance “benefit” model. Through our in-house dental membership/loyalty program, we are dedicated to creating sustainability in your practice and offering a lasting solution to the hassles of the insurance–driven marketplace.

Contact us to find out how you can resolve the insurance conundrum in your dental practice.

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Meeting Patient Expectations: Quality Dentistry at an Affordable Price

With the recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance is on the tops of many Americans’ minds, and that includes dental insurance. However, according to the American Dental Association, the ACA is only estimated to cover dental care for about 26 million Americans – mostly children and Medicare recipients – leaving the rest of the uninsured population searching for coverage.

Sure, there are alternatives to insurance such as dental HMO’s and so-called discount plans, but they stop short of actually providing real benefits to Americans. Many don’t provide coverage for comprehensive treatment and restrict patients from choosing their own dentist.

What if you could offer your patients a genuine alternative to dental insurance? One that would incentivize patients to seek the treatment they need, at a cost they could afford? An in-house dental savings plan benefits patients by showing them they actually can afford quality oral healthcare without the hassles of insurance. You can finally meet patient expectations – without sacrificing the welfare of your practice.

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Becoming Your Patients’ Oral Health Consultant

As dentists, we need to look at our business through the eyes of our patients. And patients, particularly those who have been avoiding the dentist, don’t see dentistry the same way we do.

They see us dentists as cold and uncaring, and they see our practices as sterile. Even if this isn’t actually true, it is the way many patients perceive us, and our practices, to be.

So how can we change patients’ thought processes? Through improved communication. Take the time to get to know the patients so that you are able to build a long-term relationship. Avoid clinical language. When recommending treatment, clearly explain their options as well as your reasons as to why you recommend the course of treatment.

Speaking with patients, instead of at them, will help to foster loyalty and will help them to see you as more than just another dentist, but also as their trusted oral health consultant giving them all the more reason to keep coming back to you.

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