Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Setting Up an In-House Dental Plan
As dental professionals, you understand the complexities of bringing uninsured patients back to the office for routine dental care. Perhaps some of your older patients have lost their insurance post-retirement, or some of your younger patients aren’t seeing the dentist because they don’t want to self-pay for their routine appointments.
There are many viable reasons to switch to an In-House Dental Plan, including attracting new patients and retaining existing ones. In-house dental plans offer many advantages to new and existing patients such as having no deductibles, no waiting periods, and no health qualifications or hassles associated with pre-existing conditions.
In-house dental plans are beneficial to care providers as well. Oftentimes, plans feature proprietary to provider or provider group, regulatory compliance, custom marketing materials, customized fee schedules, and even more.
However, when developing an in-house dental plan without working with an administrative dental solution like Ascension Dental, there are a few common mistakes that practices make.
1. Not Having a Marketing Strategy
One mistake that practices run into is not building a proper marketing strategy surrounding the launch of their in-house discount plan. It’s not enough to simply inform your staff and patients that you’re implementing a new in-house plan, you also have to create a strategy around developing and promoting it. Ultimately, executing a marketing strategy will help you identify who your target patient is, what that target market would be willing to pay, and how you can differentiate your plan from the local competition.
The research for your strategy helps you create your plan and the image you’d like your practice to portray. It also allows your departments to work better with each other. It’s important to have buy-in from your employees as they will help you build your messaging and transpose your story from the brochures you put out to the world, to the greetings given when a new patient first calls to schedule an appointment.
2. No Training
Having employee buy-in is a necessity when you are launching an in-house dental plan and training those employees is paramount to seeing your plan through to success.
When potential new patients call for an appointment or to learn more about your office and fees, the person answering the phone should be trained to lead this conversation to your in-house discount plan and succinctly explain the plan benefits to the caller. If the patient loses their insurance and is considering canceling their appointments, your representative should be able to present them your in-house discount plan.
A script should be put in place to prepare your staff to best present the discount plan as an option to new and existing patients. If a patient is deterred by costs of treatments, your employees should always be able to inform them of savings when they buy into your dental plan.
3. Only Marketing to Existing Patients
If your practice is only telling existing patients about your dental plan, you may be missing the mark. The idea is to put your messaging for your plan in front of new eyes, but where many practices fall short is not knowing where to begin.
Have an employee that is dedicated to the development and implementation of bringing on new patients. Allow them to work alongside you to create social media pages and advertising to promote your new plan. Send out direct mailers to those who live near or around your practice. Visit local businesses and pitch them on how much their business could save with direct reimbursement from your plan.
4. Charging Too Much (or Not Enough)
Another common mistake that practices make with their plans is charging too much for their membership. Just as insurance can scare people, the price tag of an in-house dental plan can throw potential patients off-guard as well. However, there are some instances where practices simply aren’t charging enough so they wind up losing money with their in-house membership program.
Your goal with the in-house dental plan is to increase your own profits without having to rely on third-party insurance companies. Make sure that you test discounts and other offers to find which solution for membership truly resonates and works well with your patient base.
5. Not Tracking Analytics
Your practice could miss out big time if you are not tracking member analytics. Not analyzing new memberships and renewals could potentially prevent you from growing your business. It’s essential to any practice to use an analytics platform that can display real-time plan metrics.
An analytics tool will even be useful to gauge which patients are already enrolled and who is eligible as a potential plan member. You can even use the analytics tool to record member information so that you’re not keeping their private details in a binder or in an insecure Google Doc.
Ascension Dental Helps You Avoid Mistakes
While these mistakes may make you hesitant to build an in-house dental plan, Ascension Dental gives you the tools to avoid making these errors in the process.
Ascension Dental is a privately held company focused on providing essential capital and administrative capabilities to dental providers across the country, with which it partners to design, develop and administer progressive In-House Dental Plan solutions.
Ascension Dental provides best-in-class administrative capabilities including plan branding and customized marketing – through both digital and print, as well as provides the necessary training to keep your practice aware of and up-to-speed with your new program. We also offer consulting, fulfillment, compliance, billing and the necessary provider/member engagement to keep everyone up-to-speed and on-board with the in-house dental program and platform.