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Is The Answer Right Before Your Eyes?

July 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mayer A. Levitt, DMD @ 6:25 am

A few months ago, I started polling my clients about the number of patients in their practice who had dental insurance. Typically that answer was 75-80%. A recent article estimates that only 62% of Americans have some kind of dental insurance benefit. Based on that information, why is it that more patients in your practice are not fee for service?  Very simply–the perception on Main Street  is that you can’t afford to go to the dentist unless you have dental insurance.

I further requested clients to total the number of “big ticket” items (crowns, root canals, implants, etc.) performed in their practice for the last 18 months. I then asked to know how many of those procedures were performed on patients with insurance–and how did that number compare to the overall percentage of patients in the practice who have dental insurance.

Without exception–in every practice–the number of big ticket items done on insurance patients was way out of proportion. In other words, if a typical ratio would be that 75% of the patients had insurance, almost 90% of these major procedures were done on insurance patients. So although dentists are always bemoaning the “write-offs” between their published fee and the fee they receive as an in-network provider, the results clearly show that it is a lot easier to “sell” a Delta crown than a fee-for-service crown.

I have come to the following conclusions:

1. You would do more big-ticket items and more comprehensive restorative treatment for your current fee-for-service patients if they perceived that they had a better deal–a little help with the cost.

2. You would – with a consistent marketing effort – attract more fee-for-service patients from the general population if they knew that your practice had a better plan for them.

3. You should seriously consider an in-house dental membership plan.

In my next post, I will discuss the logistics of how to introduce such a plan into your practice.


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