With reimbursement rates falling across the board, dealing with insurance companies has become more trouble than they are worth. Going in network isn’t the only way to fill the schedule.
In fact there are better options for increasing new patient flow and stimulating practice growth without having to increase reliance on managed care. Here are 5 reasons to reduce the insurance companies’ influence on your practice:
1 – Collections Issues
Talk about a nightmare. Most practice management consultants recommend a 95-98% collections rate. Hard enough to achieve on its own, but becoming a provide for insurance plans just makes attaining this goal nearly impossible.
2 – Loss of Control of Your Fee Structure
Having to reduce your UCRs to the insurance companies’ liking defeats the purpose of being in private practice if you can’t even set your prices.
3 – Decrease in Patient Perception of “Quality”
One of things patients hate most about going to their medical doctor is the wait. Patients with appointments often find themselves waiting up to an hour while the MD has to see 10 patients per hour just to afford his or her overhead.
Why would a dentist ever want to emulate a medical practice? If you want to project an image of quality comprehensive care, a volume-based drill and fill operation may not be the way to go.
4 – Why Offer a Permanent Discount?
What is an insurance company? Basically it’s a marketing scheme. In return for them filling your appointment book, you agree to discount your services to the people they send to you. Forever.
5 – There Are Other Options!
With an in-house dental membership plan like QDP, dentists can offer their patients an alternative to dental insurance. Patients pay the dentist an annual membership fee and in return they receive a year’s worth of preventive care. The dentist gets paid up front and the patient has one low annual fee that is often a fraction of an annual dental insurance premium. There’s no third party involvement, and dentists get to collect their own fees and stay in charge of their fee schedules.
Insurance is not the only option for dentists. Alternatives exist that actually benefit the patients and the doctors in a more effective way. Reduce your reliance on managed care and set your practice on a path to success.
Much of the focus on marketing today is on the Millennial generation (typically considered those born between 1977 and 2002). Online marketing is a hot topic, and Millennials are among the most digitally adept group there is, so it is no wonder that companies strive to capture the Millennial audience. And there is no doubt that with their size and influence, Millennials are a consumer group that dentists will need to focus on in the years ahead.
However, in terms of marketing your practice, don’t forget one very significant portion of the population: Baby Boomers. There may not be a more powerful group than the Baby Boomer generation. Inside Dentistry just released an article highlighting the importance of preparing your practice for the Boomer generation and it’s worth taking a read.
Here are a few statistics from the article worth noting:
- A Baby Boomer turns 50 every 8.5 seconds and for the next 18 years, Boomers will turn 65 at a rate of about 8000 per day.
- Boomers not only have high household incomes (on average $70,000+), they also have high accumulated wealth.
- Baby Boomers account for almost half of all consumer spending.
So what does this mean for dentists?
Baby Boomers are interested in feeling good and looking good – and that goes for their smile. They take better care of themselves than their parent’s generation and they are working far longer as well. So not only do they have the disposable income for dentistry, they also see the value.
According to the article, between 2000 and 2010, dental spending increased among Baby Boomers, where as it flat lined in all other demographics.
Also interesting to dentists: Most Boomers are used to having dental insurance as after having this benefit throughout their working years. Upon retirement, they are left without coverage. Among adults older than age 45, only 41% reported having dental insurance.
So here is a group of people who want dental care, with the means to pay for it, but who do not have dental insurance. Welcome Baby Boomers into your practice with open arms and give them a way to pay for their preventive care with discounts on restorative and cosmetic procedures! QDP can do just this for you and for your Boomer patients. Turn their value for dentistry into real growth for your practice.
I hear from many fellow dentists who feel that all dental marketing seems the same. They get frustrated when the same-old marketing techniques fail to produce any real growth, especially when the competition is offering the exact same thing. Discounted tooth whitening and a free toothbrush – does this really excite patients? Not likely.
The problem is that these types of promotions are the exact same as everyone else’s. If everyone else is doing it, then it’s impossible for your practice to stand out from the crowd. There’s nothing compelling enough to attract patients to your practice.
It’s time to change your approach to dental marketing. You don’t want incremental growth. You want double-digit growth. Make your practice original and offer patients something new.
Not every dentist offers an in-house dental membership plan, especially one that trumps insurance benefit maximums. Quality Dental Plan allows you to offer unique patient membership programs that increase practice revenue while helping patients afford the dentistry they need – without giving up all of your profits in promotional discounts or reduced fees for insurance companies. And with geographic exclusivity, you can be sure that no one else in the area is offering anything similar.
What’s more incentivizing to patients: a free toothbrush, or a way of affording a year’s worth of preventive care for the entire family? With QDP, you have a new message, a leg up and a way to break away from the pack.
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.
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.