How Dental Membership Plans Could Replace Insurance

If you are looking for a way to keep up with the ever-changing patient base, a dental membership plan might be the right option for you. Patient preferences have changed over the years, and they are demanding more access and more options when it comes to their dental care.

Traditional options are antiquated, offering a one-size fits all approach to care and reimbursement – but in today’s world that just doesn’t cut it – overhead is skyrocketing and patients have more line-items on their budgets than ever before. A “membership plan” is the future.

What is a Dental Membership Plan?

A dental membership savings plan is often confused with dental insurance, but they are far from the same. To keep it simple, think of a membership plan like Costco – patients pay a membership fee and get access to products and services at a reduced price.

These plans are customizable to work with your practice. Your patients can pay a “subscription” monthly or yearly. This could include baseline services like cleanings, xrays and exams, as well as additional services they could receive at a discounted price. Both you and your patient could benefit. This method takes away the hassle and limitations set by traditional coverage options. Your patient will also benefit by only paying for the services they need. You can charge them less for the services, since you will be receiving 100% of the prices you set. It’s pretty much a win-win situation.

What are my options?

You can establish your own in-house membership program, or you can create one with  membership plan software. Establishing one on your own is pretty simple at first, when you have very few members and can use a manual binder-type method. But as you grow, things become much more difficult – tracking who paid and which plan they’re on becomes nearly impossible – especially when it comes to monthly billing and multiple plan offerings.

That’s where a cloud based dental membership solution comes in handy, since it gives you the opportunity to offer, automate and grow your own in-house dental savings plan without having to worry about the operational nuts and bolts. (A service like DentalStores, even provides you with a customizable patient store to sell products your patients need – from toothpaste to toothbrushes!).

What are the benefits?

All dentists want their patients to stay loyal and form a trusting relationship, right? That’s exactly what you can achieve with a dental membership program. You can form a relationship that will last a lifetime, helping patients come back for all their routine or specialty treatments. This, combined with the fact that patients pre-pay for services, will result in fewer cancellations.

A membership plan can also help increase revenue because you set the prices and patients pay you directly rather than rates set by a third party. Both you and your patient will know the exact cost of the service before it takes place. There is no outside influence or questions about if your plan will cover a specific service. You can stay transparent with your patients which will boost case acceptance in-turn.

Having a membership plan will also increase the value of your practice and brand. Should you decide to exit one day, you’ll be one step ahead of other practices that are still beholden to insurers and other third parties. Your revenue will be predictable and reoccurring, so you’ll always have a good idea of how much you’re going to make. It’s been well established that subscription-based businesses sell for 200%-400% more than transactional businesses (for more on this checkout the book The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow ).

Are there any downsides?

One concern you might have is if it is difficult to manage a plan like this. If you’re building a plan on your own from scratch, it could be overwhelming and challenging to keep up with it. The easy solution is to use a membership plan software, like DentalStores, which helps take away the operational stress of managing the plan by helping you manage it online.


To sum it all up, switching to a dental membership program could benefit your practice long term. It increases your practice value, allows you to form lasting relationships with your patients, and creates the transparency you didn’t have before. More and more dentists are making the switch every year. This option could one day replace the need for traditional and/or antiquated systems of the past that operated on a one-size-fits-all approach.

Thinking about offering one of your own? Click here to find out additional information, schedule a demo and see if a dental membership is right for you.