Dental practices look to serve their price-sensitive patients by offering access to affordable care, but there is confusion about whether a dental membership plan or dental discount plan is the best solution. This guide clears up that confusion and breaks down the differences between dental membership plans and discount plans.
What Is a Dental Membership Plan?
Dental membership plans offer subscription-style dental coverage that dentists can provide directly to uninsured patients. Routine preventative care, such as cleanings, exams, x-rays, are included with the plan, and patients get access to savings on other non-routine procedures, such as fillings.
How Do Dental Memberships Work?
Think of a dental membership plan like other subscription services you join, like Netflix. Patients pay an annual or monthly fee to their dentist and receive preventative dental care at no additional cost plus savings on other treatment they might need.
Dentists can design dental membership plans based on the unique needs of their practice and patients. Dentists are 100% in control, setting the fee schedule, subscription price, and treatment protocol. Patients make payments directly to the dental practice, alleviating the burdens of third-party payment delays, paperwork, and claim denials.
What Are the Benefits of a Dental Membership Plan?
Dental membership plans offer several advantages to dentists and patients alike. For dental offices, benefits include:
- Cash flow: Subscriptions are paid directly to your office and you collect payment at the time service for procedures not included in the membership.
- No administrative hassles: Since you don't have a third-party administrator managing the plan, you don’t have to deal with claims processing, denials of claims, or annual maximums.
- Increased patient loyalty: Dental membership plan patients are more loyal to your dental practice, visiting more often and accepting more treatment.
There are also many benefits for patients:
- A subscription makes it easy for patients to manage and budget costs
- Since cleanings, exams, and x-rays are included in the subscription, patients complete more hygiene and improve their oral health
- Since benefits start immediately after signing up, there is no delay in treatment
- Savings make it easier for patients to afford the treatment they need
- Patients avoid the hassles and costs of insurance, including deductibles, claim denials, waiting periods, or paperwork
What Is a Dental Discount Plan?
A dental discount plan provides discounted procedures across a network of dentists to patients in return for an upfront fee that ranges from $100-$200 per year. Dental discount plans are designed and managed by a 3rd party administrator who controls pricing and manages the network of dentists. Dentists who participate in dental discount plans agree to accept discounted fees for plan members.
How Do Dental Discount Plans Work?
Think of dental discount plans as a buyer's club, similar to Costco or BJ’s Warehouse. Patients pay a flat annual fee and receive access to member-only discounts. There are no procedures included in the annual fee, just access to discounts.
Patients receive a discount card after their plan is activated, which typically takes a few days to a couple weeks. Patients can then search for participating dentists in their area and schedule an appointment.
Plan members show their discount cards when they visit a participating dentist and dentists honor the discounts established by the 3rd party administrator. Discounts are applied on procedures completed and payment is due at the time dental services are performed.
What Are the Benefits of a Dental Discount Plan?
Dental discount plans offer patients the following benefits:
- Savings: The biggest advantage to patients is that they can save money on preventive and restorative care.
- Simple to join and use: There aren't any approvals, authorizations, or paperwork required to join a dental discount plan. Everyone is accepted if they can pay the annual fee.
- Access to a network of dentists: Patients get access to many dentists that are participating in the dental discount plan. This enables them to shop around when they need treatment.
Dental Membership Plans vs. Dental Discount Plans
There is a misconception that dental membership plans are the same as dental discount plans. However, there are significant differences between the two plan types.
|Dental Membership Plan||Dental Discount Plan|
Dentists use their own fee schedule and determine treatment savings.
|A third-party administrator sets and manages the fee schedule|
|Management||Dental practices design and manage their own membership plan.||A third-party administrator designs and manages a dental discount plan.|
|Network||There is no dentist network. Instead, each dentist creates their own membership plan and offers it directly to patients of their practice.||A third-party administrator provides patients with a public network of dentists who participate in the plan.|
|Payment||Dental practice receives payments directly from patients.||A third-party collects and keeps annual payments from patients.|
|Pricing||Pricing is set by dentists and based on practice dynamics and patient demographics.||A third-party administrator controls the pricing for dental discount plans.|
|Treatment||Dental practices design the treatment plan based on their practice and patients' needs.||A third-party administrator designs treatment plans.|
What Is the Best Solution?
Dental membership plans are a better solution for both dentists and patients. With dental membership plans, dentists take back control from third-party administrators and offer care directly to their patients. Dentists control everything involved, including pricing, office fees, and treatment. As a result, patients avoid third-party hassles and access the care they want directly from their dentist in a budget-friendly way.
With the Kleer dental membership plan, you can build and manage a custom and compliant membership plan that improves patient access to care and practice performance.
1. Build a Custom Care Plan
At Kleer, we offer a turnkey cloud-based platform that includes everything your dental practice requires to design, launch, and manage a successful dental membership plan. Our platform is free to implement and it's easy and fast to launch. Dental practices can create and launch a membership plan in just days with the assistance and guidance of our Kleer Success Team. Your practice can offer multiple care plans that are customized to fit your patient demographics and ensure that your plan pricing is as profitable — and competitive — as possible with our Kleer SmartPricing™ tool. Our process features a design consultation, team training, and marketing materials that are shipped right to your office.
2. Manage Your Plan
We provide a user-friendly platform that allows you to easily manage your dental membership plan with patient self-service tools, automated renewals, fast electronic payment processing, and intuitive plan management tools.
Our solution also doesn’t stop at technology. At Kleer, we offer a full suite of support and marketing tools, and we'll help your practice optimize your dental membership plan and increase your enrollment by helping you implement best practices and analyzing plan performance.
With Kleer, you can easily manage your plan in real-time. Enjoy the following benefits available with membership plan management:
- Measure membership plan performance with a simple, user-friendly dashboard
- Track recurring revenue and deposits to your bank account
- Monitor member enrollment, activity, and payments
- Automate the member renewal process
- Improve administrative efficiency with patient self-service tools
3. Grow Your Plan and Practice
Kleer will get your practice results. Data from practices that use our solution show that Kleer membership plan patients complete two to three times more hygiene visits, accept accept two times more treatment, and generate two times more revenue than uncovered patients. With our free, customizable marketing tools, support and resources, you can:
- Invite and enroll your patients easily and quickly
- Learn how to maximize your membership plan results with our training tools
- Promote your dental membership plan to active, dormant, and new patients with a thorough marketing toolkit
Request a Software Demo
Insurers currently control every aspect of the dental care market — access, treatment, pricing, and payment. They’ve created costly and overly complicated dental plans that work only for the insurance companies, not for patients or dentists. Implementing a dental membership plan at your practice can be your first step in establishing freedom from insurers and enabling your patients to access the care they need.
At Kleer, you can transform your dental practice with our industry-leading membership plan platform. Powering your in-house membership plan with Kleer’s software makes building, managing, and growing your plan easy. We can help provide a channel for independent and group practices so you can cut ties with your lowest-paying and most underperforming PPOs.
Our Kleer Success team can offer the support your practice needs. We are a partner in growth rather than just another piece of software, and we can help you offer dental care, liberated.™ Request a software demo from us at Kleer today.