Since most dental practices closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a buildup of dental care treatment needs from preventative to cosmetic. As dental practices begin to reopen, it’s now more important than ever that you consider the financial barriers that your patient base may be facing. With lost jobs and benefits due to the pandemic crisis, consumers will be seeking cost-saving solutions such as a dental membership plan to help offset the out-of-pocket expenses that would typically be covered under their insurance policy. To jumpstart your membership plan, here are a few items to consider as you promote your program coming out of the pandemic.
Build a campaign around your existing patients consisting of mail and email promotions.
This is a great way to maximize your existing patient base while also showing them that you’re working hard to provide a cost-saving solution for those who have been greatly affected by the pandemic. Some of your patients have been affected by the crisis more than others, and you won’t necessarily know who has been affected the most, so when you build your campaign, ensure that you’re reaching everyone you can. Your newly uninsured patients will be grateful that you have a financial solution that helps fill-the-gap for their previous insurance.
Consider a promotional discount on your membership enrollment fee.
If you already have a program in place, it’s important that you consider lowering the barrier-to-entry. We see many programs that are priced anywhere from $200-$300 per individual, and while that enrollment fee typically pays for free diagnostic work and free cleanings, many Americans don’t want to consider paying $200-$300 for anything that isn’t absolutely necessary at the moment. Most of the successful membership plans that we power are priced right around $100 and include free oral exams and x-rays, while the cleanings are paid out-of-pocket at a discounted rate. Your patients and prospective patients will appreciate that you’re cognizant of how your community has been affected by the ripple effect of the pandemic, and will certainly look to take advantage of this limited-time offer.
Promote your membership plan on your practice website.
It’s vital that your membership plan has an online presence as most individuals will be exploring their dental options online. Your website may have a ‘new patients’ tab, ‘financial options’, ‘alternative to insurance’ or even a ‘membership plan’ section all on its own. We highly encourage that you promote your membership plan in one of these areas on your website. If you can streamline the enrollment process by allowing for online enrollments, that would be even better. We want to make it as easy as possible for your members to enroll, because, obviously, once a member is enrolled in your program, they’re certainly going to be more inclined to schedule an appointment and take advantage of their new benefits.
Offer an extension to current members who were unable to utilize their benefits while your practice was closed.
You may already have a program in place but your practice has been closed, what should we do to accommodate for these annual memberships? Consider offering an extension on your member’s current plan. In all likelihood, your members have not been able to use their membership for the last couple of months and there may be some uncertainty around when they will be able to utilize their savings. We’re offering 3-month extensions for all of our partners’ members and we encourage that you do the same. A small gesture like this can go a long way to show your patients that you care about their financial strains.
Display material in your practice and offer the program to EVERY uninsured patient that walks through the door.
This one may seem like a no-brainer but you may be surprised at how often dental practices might pick-and-choose who they offer the program to. Statistics show that plan members spend 2x more on their dental work throughout the year than a traditional cash patient, so why not promote the member-for-life culture to every uninsured patient that comes in for their necessary work. We encourage that you look beyond the initial appointment if the patient is willing to “pay-in-full” for their preventive work. What we ought to be doing is looking to change the patient behavior and this starts with staff training and dedication to the process.
Interested in offering a membership plan but don’t know where to start? We can help: https://calendly.com/michaelshuman/demo?month=2020-05