Kleer recently wrote an article for Group Dentistry Now “4 Reasons the COVID-19 Crisis Made Dental Membership Plans a Must Have for DSOs and Group Practices.”
In the article, author Dave Monahan, CEO for Kleer, dives into four challenges brought on by the COVID crisis that make dental membership plans a must-have. He also reviews key best practices for implementing a successful and scalable membership plan across a DSO or group practice enterprise.
Challenge #1: 50% of patients do not have dental coverage
As of June 2020, U.S. jobless claims due to the COVID-19 crisis hit a record 44 million. Losses of jobs, salaries and employer-sponsored dental benefits significantly reduced the number of insured dental patients. Prior to the crisis, one in three U.S. adults and two in three seniors lacked dental coverage. Because of COVID-related losses of jobs and employer-sponsored dental benefits, we estimate more than 50% of adult patients are uninsured.
The good news is that uninsured patients want coverage. In fact, as part of market research Kleer conducted, 89% of uninsured patients surveyed said that they were interested in purchasing a dental plan if it is simple, affordable and transparent. Better yet, almost 50% said they are very or extremely interested in purchasing a care plan. A dental membership plan will give patients exactly what they want. Payments are affordable, prices are transparent, coverage is easy to understand, and there are no hassles like deductibles, pre-approvals and annual maximums. Plus, patient benefits start the minute they join. Read the article to learn more about uninsured patient mindset and dental coverage needs.
Challenge #2: Dental insurance is even MORE broken
The dental care system has been broken for years. Insurers control everything including access, payment, pricing and treatment. They have created overly complicated plans that work for them but not for dentists or patients. The COVID crisis has brought to light additional fractures in the insurer-controlled system—making this an opportune time to move away from insurance and toward a direct care model. With membership plans, your group practice is in control—including plan design, pricing and fee schedules. Practices are paid directly by patients, and the hassles of insurance middlemen are eliminated.
Challenge #3: Increased costs and decreased production
A model that did not work prior to COVID-19 is only getting worse. Patient distancing has forced lower patient volumes and decreased production while the cost of PPE and infection control further misaligned practice costs and PPO reimbursement. Based on conversations Dave Monahan had with our customers, he estimates the following cost increases and production decreases due to COVID:
- PPE (masks, gowns, shields, etc.): $15-$30 per visit
- Infection control (HVAC, sanitizer, etc.): $5,000-$10,000 per office
- Infection control (hand scaling, operatory sanitation): 5-10% production decline
- Patient distancing (no waiting room, patient screening, etc.): 20-25% production decline
In the article, he asks “Can your practice be profitable on your existing PPO fee schedules and terms with a 25-35% decline in production and a 5-10% increase in costs? What happens when PPOs lower your fees next year and subsequent years?” Then, he details how implementing a membership plan now will set your group practice up for long-term success. You can learn more by reading the article.
Challenge #4: Cash flow is critical to the survival of your practice
When practices across the country shut their doors because of the COVID crisis, it is safe to say panic ensued for many. Cash stopped coming into practices when patients stopped coming in; however, bills for rent, equipment leases, debt and payroll persisted. This highlighted the need for group practices to build streams of recurring revenue. A membership plan will generate consistent, recurring revenue that your DSO or group practice can depend on in good times and bad.
Best practices for DSO and group practice membership plans
The Group Dentistry Now article also details for best practices to consider when developing your strategy to implement a membership plan across your DSO or group practice enterprise.
- Customize care plans and fee schedules
- Implement technology that offers simplicity, flexibility, and transparency
- Maintain regulatory compliance
- Have a plan to scale your plan as your practice expands
Read more about these best practices in the article.
Kleer’s Membership Plan Solution for DSOs and Group Practices
Kleer’s dental membership plan platform is designed for DSO and group practice scale and success. Kleer’s dental membership plan software for DSOs and group practices enables easy design, launch and management of membership plans across multiple dental practice locations. The platform is designed with dentist and patient success at the center and is rich in features.
In a recent press release, Kleer described enhancements to the platform. Learn more.