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.
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.
“What can we give our patients? What does the consumer want? . . . We found they were looking for peace of mind.”
“The whole basis of Quality Dental Plan is to keep the relationship between the dental office and the patient . . . The way it should be, no third party involvement.”
“When you have a middleman that comes in between a transaction, that middleman needs to make some sort of profit.”
“Firm in policy. Flexible in procedure.”
“Becoming a strong leader frees up time to do the things you enjoy most by allowing you to delegate what you enjoy least.”
“What can you delegate effectively to your team to allow you to do more dentistry?”
“When you have a lot of different details of running a practice pulling you in a lot of different directions . . .are you really giving all of yourself to those patients?”
“If you are going to do something, it’s worth doing best.” – Dan’s dad
“You aren’t always going to be the best one out there, but you can always give it your best.” – Dan’s mom
“Go out there and look around. Explore. See what the world has to offer. Find out who you are.”
“In dental business, it’s understanding the game. What are the rules?”
“In our life we encounter lots of failures and challenges. How we respond to those really shapes who we are.”
“You get knocked down. You have to pick yourself up again. I put my time and energy into something that was going to make an impact on the world.”
“Go out and donate some time in the world. Use your skill to give back to the community. You really start to realize what you do have and what you can do with those skills.”
“Know yourself and why you do the things you do.”
“Once you make the decision to do something . . . you need to make it as important as breathing. Everyday you wake up, that needs to be on the forefront of your mind.”
“Be relentless. Pursue those goals and dreams.”