The 9 Key Features of Professionally Administered In-House Dental Plans

POSTED BY Darren Griffin

Not all In-House Dental Plans are created equal.

It’s no secret that professionally administered In-House Dental Plans are continuing to prove to be an effective way for dental providers to increase their case acceptance rates, services rendered, practice loyalty and overall bottom lines.  As dentists continue to adopt In-House Dental Plans at record rates, it’s important for dental professionals to understand the many features of a professionally administered In-House Dental Plans and how these unique features compare to the “mom and pop” plans frequently seen today.

What are In-House Dental Plans?

An In-House Dental Plan, also sometimes called an In-House Savings Plan, Internal Dental Savings Plan, or In-House Discount Plan, is a membership based dental plan that’s offered through a dental office, or a group of dental offices, to patients without dental insurance.  In exchange for a low annual membership fee, patients that enroll with their dentists’ In-House Dental Plan receive member only discounts on all their dental care needs while also enjoying no waiting periods, maximums or exclusions.

In-House Dental Plans are increasingly being viewed by dentists as an effective way to service and retain fee-for-service patients.  If your dental offices don’t currently have an In-House Dental Plan in place or are looking to implement one in the future, it’s important to realize that not all plans are created equal and your plan’s performance will be affected if your plan is not administered with extreme focus and detail.

Statistics show that In-House Dental Plans that are professionally administered by a focused third party have a much greater impact on their affiliated offices’ bottom lines as a result of focused, effective administration workflows.  A few examples of professionally administered In-House Dental Plans in the market today are TX Dental Plan and Smile Care Savings Plan.

Why it’s important your In-House Dental Plan is professionally administered.

Most dental offices don’t have the time nor the resources to run even a “loosely managed” In-House Dental Plan, much less a professionally administered one. It’s become common to see in-house plans that don’t have an administration arm, resulting in an ineffective plan that doesn’t represent the affiliated office’s level of service and professionalism.

Simply put: dental offices utilizing a professionally administered In-House Dental Plan see much higher case acceptance rates, services rendered and patient loyalty.

The 9 key features of a professionally administered In-House Dental Plan.

Regulatory Compliant – In most states, it’s required by law for the plan entity to attain a discount medical plan organization (DMPO) license to with the department of insurance.  A professionally administered in-house plan takes compliance seriously and follows all applicable rules and regulations.  No dental office should have to take on compliance by itself.

Marketing Materials – It’s vital for an in-house plan to be aggressively marketed inside the practice via plan brochures, posters, website landing pages, etc.  Plan marketing materials must be fresh and modern and portray the plan as innovative and of value.

Automated Billing – It’s important for plan members to be able to change, upgrade, renew and cancel their plan whenever they would like.  A key trend of professionally administered in-house plans is to allow members to self-service their account details through a member-only portal located within the plan website.

Member Engagement –  Customer service touch points continues to be a key driver behind a plan’s performance.  Plan members that are constantly engaged in their providers’ in-house plan tend to use it more frequently which results in continued favorable outcomes for their affiliated dental provide. It’s key to engage, engage and engage some more.

Member ID Cards – A dental plan isn’t a real dental plan unless all new members receive a welcome kit containing a welcome letter, a copy of the plan’s terms and conditions and member ID cards.  It’s vital for all plan members to receive these important materials in a timely manner.

Renewal Strategy – One of the key features of a professionally administered in-house plan is the renewal strategy.  Plan members should receive renewal notifications prior to their renewal date via mail, email and personalized phone calls.  Patient loyalty is a key driver behind a plan’s long-term success so your plan better have a proven strategy to attain renewals.

Provider Engagement – If your practices team members aren’t properly trained on best practices, or don’t fully understand what their plan is geared to do, then their in-house plan doesn’t have the impact on their offices like it should.  Just like member engagement, it’s vital your office’s team members are constantly engaged in their plan details, how to present their plan, and how to facilitate enrollments with their plan.

Eligibility Verification –  When plan members come into your offices to receive dental services it’s crucial that your offices can verify member eligibility with ease by using a web-based verification of eligibility tool.  Verifying eligibility real-time allows for quick, streamlined service.

Plan Analytics – Being able to view and analyze your in-house plan’s metrics real-time is crucial to validating the numbers behind the concept of having an in-house savings plan.  A professionally administered in-house plan should give your offices and management teams the ability to view their plan data by location, month, year, etc.