A New Fan of Membership Plans by Dr. Richard M. Yarbro
99 percent of this Townie’s existing uninsured patients signed up for his practice’s new monthly payment plan
One of the goals for my dental office is to financially accommodate patients who don’t have insurance. In the past, we’ve offered discounted rates on routine care and treatment, as well as opportunities to “stretch out” the maximum timetable for X-rays, exams, etc.
What we ended up with were patients who wanted to do things their way—bargaining for better pricing, refusing X-rays, refusing to come in at all or coming in only when necessary. Sound familiar? It’s “patient-led care,” which not only devalues the overall dental profession but also can potentially set your practice up for lawsuits.
Our office manager periodically brought up the idea of a membership plan, because over time we had seen more and more patients losing insurance benefits or ending up with inexpensive plans that didn’t offer much in the way of coverage. Patients who have retired or are on Medicare have little to no coverage but still desire—and deserve—good dental care. The “race to the bottom” by insurance companies who raise premiums, lower reimbursable rates and add lots of fine print to their plans frustrates staff and patients alike.