Subscription-Based Dental Care On the Rise

Concierge health care is becoming more popular among doctors who want an easier way to serve patients without the hassle of insurance companies. In this newer model of healthcare, patients can select a membership plan with their general practitioner, pay out of pocket every month, and enjoy a range of health services at that office anytime throughout the year.

Subscription-based healthcare is a good choice for medical practitioners because it brings healthcare access directly to the patient. It can also be good for dentists.

It’s widely known that at least half of adults don’t visit the dentist regularly either because of fear or cost. Where cost is concerned, dental insurance can do little to lower concerns. Did you know that, according to the ADA, in nearly 70 percent of cases, the costs of the insurance premium and copays are higher than the actual market price of the dental care received each year? More patients are wondering why maintaining dental insurance is even necessary. For dentists, the reimbursement process can be long, complicated, and present barriers to dental care for many parts of the population. That’s where membership plans come in.

Before you start imagining what membership with your dental office might look like, consult your state dental board for applicable rules and regulations. Most permit what they call in-house discount plans, but some don’t, and there are often rules for how you communicate plan benefits to patients.

What Is a Dental Subscription?

When you decide to transition all or some of your practice to subscription-based care – and yes, you can offer it as a benefit without severing ties with your insurance providers for covered patients – there many ways to build your membership plans.

Most dental subscription plans have tiers offering different levels of service. The most basic level typically covers routine preventative care like hygiene exams, x-rays, and prophylaxis. Some will include the cost of basic restorative care, like cavities, anesthetics, and replacing fillings. Most plans at some point will offer discounts for other dental procedures, like crowns, bridges, dentures, oral surgery, or emergency treatment. You can also offer discounts for elective dental services like teeth whitening.

You can offer subscriptions on a monthly or yearly basis. To calculate what to charge, first figure the annual costs of dental services. Then, decide what the discount will be, divide by 12 months, and you have your monthly subscription fee.  

You’ll need a reliable and HIPAA-compliant tracking system to implement subscription plans, although you can do it on your own. Thoroughly train all staff on what the subscription plans include, who they’re ideal for, how to talk about them, and what the benefits are. Finally, once your subscription plan is in place, you’ll need to promote it to current and prospective patients to encourage enrollment.  

Dental subscription plans are great marketing tools for new patients and help to reduce patient attrition. There are millions of Americans without dental insurance, and subscription plans offer a huge opportunity to increase revenue and reach more patients. Dental CPAs can help you determine the state and local regulations applicable to dental subscription plans, and how to set up a plan for your practice. Contact us to get started.