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You have a membership plan, now what?

You have a membership plan, now what?

Membership plans are all the rage lately. They are a great tool for your un-insured patients and for patients that fly through their dental benefit maximum in two visits. I’ve seen many different types of plans with a wide range of annual “premiums” and discounts on services. I’ve also seen plans created that sit around and collect dust. That’s just a waste of your time and money! If you are a PPO provider, you already know that the discount for your plan is smaller than the discount you take on insurance, so why not market your plan?

This article is intended to help you bring your plan back to life in the event you’ve already created one or considered doing so. FYI, for anyone looking to create one from scratch, the resources out there are endless. You can simply Google “in-house dental membership plans”, check with your colleagues, sign on to social media or search online dental publications.

What To Call It

If you have a stagnant membership plan in your office, this is your chance to “re-brand” and put some life back into it. Instead of just putting your office name in front of the words membership plan, try and get creative.  It doesn’t always have to be generic – make it fun and catchy, just don’t call it “insurance”. 

Team Involvement

You might be surprised at how many team members don’t have the first clue as to how it works or what the discounts are. Please dedicate at least one entire team meeting on this project. If you are re-branding the plan, send out an email to your team prior to the meeting so they have some time to come up with ideas. Have an internal “name the plan” contest or vote, but make sure you finalize it sooner rather than later.

Once this is established, talk about the who, what, why and how much. Your membership plan should be a great conversation starter inside and outside the office. Imagine what would happen if one of your favorite patients starts talking to her friends and family that don’t have dental benefits and are afraid to find out how much it costs – this is the opportunity to bring in new patients!

External Marketing

Visit your neighboring small businesses and local employers that do not offer dental benefits. They may consider paying the premium for their employees or offer a discount on enrollment fees. You must put your face in front of the masses and explain what it really is. Dropping off your shiny brochures along with a basket of cookies or toothbrushes isn’t enough. Remember, you are most likely going to target small businesses that don’t offer insurance. Offer to provide a boxed lunch and give a quick presentation on how it works. You don’t have to go overboard, but they will appreciate the time you took to speak with them and also appreciate the discount!

There is a lot more to this process then creating a plan, putting a brochure on the desk, adding a link to your website and then waiting…and waiting. Eventually your team forgets you have this benefit and when someone does come along with it, no one knows what discount to give or what the discount is called.

Just like anything else in your office, this requires a standard operating procedure and maintenance. Always be checking your numbers. If you are dedicated in using this to bring new patients to your office, you will most likely see your new patient numbers rise along with your membership enrollment.

Again, if you haven’t already, take advantage of all the information out there on pricing, discounts and setting up in your practice management software. Remember: If you don’t tell people about it outside your office, how will you ever get them inside your office?

Bridget Fay, BBA, FAADOM

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