What are dental membership plans?

Before we continue geeking out about how a membership plan platform can help you grow your practice, some of you may be wondering: 
What is a dental membership plan?

Membership plans are still a relatively new concept to the dental profession (at least compared to fee-for-service and haggling with insurance companies!). So we thought we’d dig a little deeper here into what membership plans are, and what this powerful financial alternative can do for your dental practice.

Welcome to Dental Membership Plans 101.

Definition

dental membership plan (n.)

  1. A direct patient-to-practice subscription-based financial arrangement: Patients receive preventive care and other treatments outlined in the plan in exchange for a monthly or annual fee paid directly to the dental office
  2. An alternative to dental insurance, dental savings plans, and fee-for-service (in some use cases) to help dental professionals grow and transform their practice
  3. A financial model that can expand care to uninsured patients and revolutionize modern dentistry management

Other Aliases: in-office membership plan, in-office dental plan, direct primary care agreement

When you work with DentalHQ, your dental membership plan is exactly as you dream it to be. We don’t tell you what to do with your plan or how to price or market that plan to patients, nor do we set requirements for what services you should offer. 

But you also won’t be alone or without a guide. Our Client Support and Success Team provides onboarding and team training as you get started as you familiarize yourself with membership plans, the platform, and how this financial structure can help you up-level your dental practice.

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What a dental membership plan is NOT

Let’s be clear. Dental membership plans are not:

  • Dental discount plans
  • Dental savings plans
  • Dental insurance

Dental discount plans and dental savings plans are more comparable to a buyer’s club than a subscription membership. When patients pay into these plans, they receive discounts on dental care and can schedule appointments with various participating dentists in their area. 
Membership plans establish a more direct connection between your practice and your patient.

Dental insurance may be an employment benefit, like health insurance, or patients may pay for dental insurance themselves at a monthly or annual rate. But, as you know, dental insurance claims do not guarantee coverage for all treatment, and haggling with insurance companies costs time, money, and energy for your front office staff and patients alike.
Membership plans offer more transparency in pricing and services expectations for both patients and the dental practice. More clarity = good health all around.

We dive deeper into the differences between dental insurance and dental membership plans here.

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What services should I include in my membership plan?

When it comes to membership plans for dental offices, coverage for repeated preventive and maintenance care services is the main idea.

This can be overall preventive care, such as cleanings and X-rays, or preventive and maintenance services for more specific aspects of dentistry, such as perio, ortho, or dentures.

You can offer as many or as few services in each plan, and as many or as few membership plans as you would like. Too many plan options can be overwhelming for patients to choose between, but you can find a balance for serving the niche needs of the patient demographics within your community and your practice’s patient base.

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How do I price my membership plan?

The power of pricing is in your hands.

Like the services you include and the pricing you set for your fee-for-service care, your dental membership plan pricing is your decision.

For dental membership plans, you bundle a few different services and how many of each you might normally perform for a patient within a year. These might include basic preventive care services, such as twice-annual cleanings and X-rays. Or you may have separate plans for specific patient demographics (children, retirees) or for certain types of services (periodontics, dentures, orthodontics).

The pricing of these services vary, and so will your membership plan annual and monthly pricing strategy. We recommend our partner offices calculate the fees for the services offered in any particular plan for a year, add a discount as you see fit, and divide that total over 12 months, if offering a monthly payment option to patients.

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Learn with DentalHQ

From membership plan optimization to dental practice improvement, our blog contains a treasure trove of great information from the best in the business.

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