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Setting up a membership plan at your practice

A membership plan could be an attractive alternative, or supplement, to traditional dental insurance, both for your practice and the wellbeing of your patients.

Discount versus prepaid plans

Most membership plans can be categorized into one of two types:

  1. Discount plan: Patients pay a small one-time fee for a membership that provides a set discount for different types of care for 12 months. For example, 20% off checkups/cleanings, 15% off fillings/crowns and 10% off other restorative care. 
  2. Prepaid Plan: Patients pay a larger upfront fee that includes two appointments/cleanings per year prepaid, plus an additional discount off non-preventative care.

With a discount plan, patients are more likely to sign up, since the cost is small. Patients like that they can save money but the practice doesn’t generate as much cashflow when memberships are up for renewal.

Prepaid plans generate better cashflow and highly incentivize patients to schedule all the prepaid services that are included with their membership, but the higher upfront fee can be a tougher sell.

With both types of memberships, case acceptance improves as patients are more likely to move forward with treatments to achieve greater value out of their membership.

Patient retention and loyalty

In addition to improving your case acceptance rate, offering a dental membership plan is a great way to retain patients for your practice and build loyalty. When structured properly, memberships can be a win-win situation for both patients and dentists.

Patients who take advantage of dental membership plans will be more likely to book and show up for appointments, leading to better care and improved oral health outcomes.

Dental membership plan features

Any dental membership plan should consider the following:

  • The member relationship should be directly between the patient and your practice
  • Patients should have the opportunity to save money, both on preventative care and restorative/cosmetic treatment
  • Pricing should be simple and transparent, with a clear and easy-to-follow explanation of what preventative care is included with the membership purchase and the exact discount for each type of treatment
  • Plans should auto-renew to generate reliable cashflow for the practice and encourage patients to take better care of their oral health