Does your practice offer a Dental Savings Plan? You might be surprised at the patients you attract!
Are you familiar with Dental Savings Plans (DSPs)? They can be a huge boost for your dental practice. This dentist started by offering them to retirees, and found lots of other people were also interested in DSPs.
If you’re trying to expand your practice in a competitive environment, an in-house Dental Savings Plan (DSP) can help you attract new patients. In a DSP, members pay a set annual fee. They basically become “members” of your practice. In return for the fee, they receive a certain number of cleanings, examinations, and x-rays, as well as discounts on expensive procedures.
The benefits for patients is that in-house DSPs are often less expensive than traditional dental insurance. Meanwhile, your practice attracts patients who otherwise might not receive treatment—retirees, self employed, and uninsured people. Your earnings under a DSP are the same, or maybe even higher, than they are for procedures on in-network insured patients. Everyone comes out ahead because you’ve cut out the middleman.
Moving beyond retirees
When I started my in-house DSP, I primarily pitched the plan to recent retirees. Most seniors lose their dental insurance when they retire. Since individual dental insurance plans are so expensive, many simply opt to avoid dental care until they have a crisis. A DSP allows them to protect their oral health, and it helps you grow your practice.
After I started my DSP, I realized that other people in the community were interested in joining besides retirees. For instance, self-employed people liked the ability to predict their dental expenses for the year. So I learned that a DSP can be a great tool for building relationships with small businesses.
Why small businesses love DSPs
According to the latest economic data, 2015 was another rough year for small businesses. If you talk to business owners around your town, they’ll tell you about the soaring cost of health insurance, costly compliance with federal and state regulations, and how their costs keep going up but they’re afraid to raise prices because they can’t afford to lose customers. It all adds up to another year without raises for their employees.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with Dental Savings Plans. If someone isn’t getting a raise this year, why would he or she be interested in a new Dental Saving Plan?
I’m bringing up the state of small businesses because your DSP is a way to grow your practice while providing value to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). SMBs are in a fix: they can’t really afford to offer raises, but they need to offer something in order to retain employees. Health insurance is getting more expensive, so many businesses are dropping it. But a dental savings plan like the ones I detail in Grow Your Dental Practice with Wine and Cheesemight be an affordable benefit that helps the SMBs, their employees, and your practice.
How to market to local businesses
Pitch your savings plan to local businesses. You can start with business owners who are already patients in your practice. They can offer your plan to their employees and either partially subsidize it or have their employees pay the full cost. They win because they’re offering a new benefit at a time when many of their competitors are cutting back on compensation packages. The employees win because even if they have to pay the full cost of the plan, they get to do it with pre-tax dollars. And finally, your practice wins because you have a pool of new patients whose benefits are effective only if they receive care at your practice.
I developed my in-house DSP in response to the needs of area senior citizens. However, a dental plan that provides good value appeals to many other people as well. As you roll out your own dental practice’s savings plan, don’t overlook local business owners, and keep an eye out for other underserved groups in your community. When you get new patients into your chair, everyone wins.
Christopher Phelps, DMD, is a general dentist who earned his dental degree magnum cum laude from the Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Phelps has successfully achieved rapid growth in his dental practice by applying business principles to practice management. His new book, Grow Your Practice with Wine and Cheese,details how other dentists can use a dental savings plan to expand their patient bases.