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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
What if we could be successful by decreasing our dependence on insurance?
One of my friends from dental school called me shortly after he’d set up his practice to talk insurance with me. He was frustrated with how much time and money he was giving the insurance companies, and knowing that I had scrapped the insurance model and started offering my own pricing, programs, and savings plans, he was curious if he could pull it off as well.
We began to sift through what he liked about accepting dental insurance and what he didn’t. I decided to ask my friend a few simple questions…
Q: What is the upside of offering insurance?
A: I’m able to accept patients who have dental insurance, which increases practice revenue.
Q: Does it cost you a lot for the patient to use insurance?
Q: Do you have issues with case acceptance?
Q: Does the blame fall on you when the insurance company won’t accept your treatment plan?
Q: Does insurance cover all of your patient’s treatment?
A: No. Only a small percentage, really.
As a system, traditional dental insurance is very flawed. When you really break down the way insurance forces you to do business, you see that the only people it’s really benefitting are the insurance companies. It costs you time and resources, and since so many dentists accept it, the benefit is very modest. It allows you to fit in with the dentists in your area, not stand out.
That’s why my friend called me. Because I was able to eliminate the third parties and put the “private” back in private practice, creating a winning solution for my patients and my practice.
You’re an amazing dentist. When it comes to providing your patients with top-notch dental care, you are the expert. And except for when it comes to specialized procedures outside your area of expertise, there’s no need for you to seek outside help.
But we went to dental school, not business school. We shouldn’t expect to be experts at dental practice marketing. Maybe we recognize the need for marketing but do we really know how to increase revenue and build patient loyalty? And do we actually have the time and/or interest to do so?
Marketing and practice management are highly refined skills. They’re careers in and of themselves. While you may have a slight understanding of them, you’re not an expert. And why should you be? You went to school to be a dentist, right?
There’s no better way to catapult your business ahead than to find a partner that can provide the capabilities needed to enhance your practice. No need to spend your time reinventing the wheel. Where does your satisfaction come from: treating patients or researching consumer behavior? Do what you enjoy.
When was the last time you examined your fee schedule? Chances are, it has been awhile. Your fee schedule is an important component of your business plan, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to make adjustments to get your practice off to a strong start.
The problem is that without regularly looking at your fees, it’s impossible for you to make effective decisions regarding your business. The key is finding the fee schedule sweet spot that enables you remain viable without running the risk of your services becoming undervalued. You also can’t provide your patients with benefits such as cash, senior or advance payment discounts, Comprehensive Finance, Care Credit or Whitening for Life. Patient benefits continue to be one of your best tools for building patient loyalty and setting yourself apart from your competitors.
Without increasing your fees, you may not be able to stay competitive; you can’t afford to continue to update your practice with the latest technology, or to get all of the necessary continuing education to hone your clinical skills. Operating a successful practice depends on implementing these kinds of patient incentives in a way that boosts your bottom line rather than destroying it. And the key to doing this lies in setting appropriate fees. Take the time this January to evaluate your fee schedule and make 2014 your most profitable year yet.
Year’s End. It’s about this time every year when we often start reflecting back over the past 12 months. For dental practice owners, it is a constructive habit to take the time to think about what processes worked well in the practice, and to identify where things might be done better.
Take your practice’s marketing, for example. New patient discounts are a popular promotion to increase new patient flow, but are these promotions really worth it?
Click here to find out how much your new patient discount is actually costing you.
A special discount doesn’t seem so special when everyone is offering the same one. And if it is costing you money, it’s time for a new solution.