It may or may not be news to you, but the Gig Economy (the labor market of freelance and contract workers) is only growing, and its existence poses new questions for industries of all kinds. The dental profession is no exception!
According to Statista, it is projected that by 2027, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the United States. That would make up more than half of the workforce.
We aren’t far from it as is. In 2019, 35% of the U.S. workforce participated in the Gig Economy. And if you speculated that 2020’s upheaval of traditional work environments would have an impact, you’re spot on! Gig Economy income statistics show wages and participation have grown by 33% in 2020.
But why does any of this matter to you, the dentist? Well, working freelance has its perks, but insurance is definitely not one of them.
This might seem like a problem waiting to happen. If more and more people are without insurance, they’ll be more likely to avoid regular dental care, right? Maybe, but not if you have a program that not only solves the problem of no insurance but proves itself to be better in the first place.
Enter, dental membership plans.
Dental membership plans are the ideal solution for anyone who participates in the Gig Economy, making them a perfect partner for you and your practice, too.
Let’s talk about why.
1. membership plans make payment manageable for your uninsured patients.
Dental membership plans enable patients to pay monthly or annually on a plan, kind of like a subscription. You can decide what care your practice includes in the plan, but the idea is that instead of your uninsured patients being slammed with a $300 bill for their cleaning, they will have been paying over time in smaller chunks.
This means that they can still keep up with their dental care in the most healthy way.
It also means that you and your team will have more appointment follow-through (people are less inclined to miss out on something they’ve already paid for) and will have been receiving steady income separate from visits anyway.
A financial win-win for all—that's dental membership plans.
#2 membership plans save everyone money—and that's essential for gig workers.
Not only do dental membership plans make finances more digestible for your patients – they also save them money over time. The more they visit – and they will visit more – the more they will save, and the more consistent the revenue will be for you. Communicating this could certainly land you new patients.
People who work on a gig basis rather than being traditionally employed deal with a lot of unique expenses. They usually purchase all of their own equipment and supplies, and pay some of the highest tax rates of anyone in the country. The idea of saving money in the long run is most definitely appealing to them.
When you brief a patient on the benefits of dental membership plans, be sure to remind them that insurance is decidedly not cost-effective. Often, patients pay premiums that cost as much or more in a period of several months than a single cleaning. And yet, that insurance doesn’t even always cover the cleanings. Never mind how little coverage they often offer for more expensive procedures.
While insurance might feel like a good way to manage medical costs, it usually ends up costing patients more in the end. Nearly 70% of patients pay more to their insurance companies than the true market value of the services they receive. Indeed, that’s kind of the point—it’s how insurance companies make their money. This is especially relevant for those who work in the Gig Economy, as premiums are often higher when insurance isn’t provided by an employer.
#3 membership plans build patient loyalty.
Direct primary care models, where the dentist and patient work out their payment plans together, are so revolutionary for everyone involved. By making the finances less daunting for your patients, you are building trust and appreciation. That translates into loyalty over time.
Your patients can pay in a slower, more affordable time frame, with the knowledge that they are getting what they’ve paid for. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re serving your patients better and the delight of seeing an uptick in repeat visitors.
And most importantly for your bank account, the more loyal patients feel towards you and your practice, the more likely they are to stay with you for crowns, implants, and any restorative work. Increased loyalty = increased case acceptance.
And if you ask us, dental membership is the best DPC approach out there!
Here at DentalHQ, we strive to make it easier than ever to run a dental membership plan. If you’d like to learn more about that, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org