Dental savings plans are a great option for patients looking for affordable insurance alternatives. When managed properly, an in-office discount program can help you retain current patients, improve case acceptance, reduce collections, and attract new patient referrals.
But in order for an in-house dental membership plan to be successful, there are key characteristics that should be kept in mind. When everyone in your office is on the same page, your in-house dental plan will be set up for success.
Professional Administration is Extremely Important
As with a dental insurance policy, any in-house dental plan will require strict organization and policies to ensure it’s successful. Loosely managed plans won’t only fail to benefit your patients, they will also harm the reputation of your practice.
Before implementing any type of an in-house dental savings plan, make sure the person(s) overseeing it understand all of the ins and outs of how the program will work. One you have your plan set up be sure to stick to it! Making special arrangements outside of what’s dictated by the plan will negatively impact office production.
Develop Marketing Materials
Your new in-house plan is only successful if people sign up for it! You’ll need to develop marketing materials to get the word out about what an in-office savings program is and how it’s an affordable alternative to dental insurance.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Send an email and/or text (with a hyperlink) to all existing and non-active patients about your new plan and how it works
- Add graphics to your current website, with a link to access more details
- Keep eye-level information and brochures throughout your practice, including in the reception area, at the check-out desk, and in each operatory.
- Share infographics on your social media page
- Look into advertising via local newspaper, radio, and community outlets (such as school events, charities, etc.)
Activate Automated Billing
In order for an in-house discount plan to be successful, your office will need to be able to operate automated billing for membership and/or renewals. Depending on the specifics of your plan, this may be a fee paid by the patient on an annual or monthly basis. Having the patient keep a credit card on file is probably the easiest and most convenient way to accomplish this step. As with your recall system, make sure that membership fees are maintained as applicable.
Create ID Cards
Having a membership card makes your in-house savings program feel more “real” to the patients enrolled. Like an insurance card, these cards can have basic information including patient’s name, benefits included, and discounts offered through the plan. Using a digital card can hands down, be the easiest way to administer these. Using a third party provider, like DentalStores, will automatically provide your patients with their own personal digital ID card including your office’s logo, taking a lot of the workload off of your office.
Have a Dashboard
With the right software and practice management programs, you’ll be able to review the statistics of your in-house dental plan and analyze how it’s affecting cash flow. Keep track of your patients that are enrolled in your dental savings plan and keep up with any failed autopays.
Having a dashboard also allows for you to track the overall health of your plan and compare to previous months or years.
Train Your Staff
All staff members need to be trained on the ins and outs of your new program. Fortunately, an in-house dental savings plan is typically very straightforward. Most of the training will likely need to be focused on how the plan is presented, due to how easy to understand the requirements are.
With all team members (both front office and back clinical staff) being able to share information with patients, there’s not as much of a risk for people to fall through the cracks. During each visit, patients — especially those without insurance or who are frustrated with the coverage they receive — should be made aware that your practice now as an affordable insurance alternative to consider.
There are few companies out there that can help you with everything from renewals and analytics to patient IDs and even marketing collateral. DentalStores has helped many offices get their savings plans off the ground and even revamped old programs to be more successful. To learn more about DentalStores software schedule a demo here.