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In the Club

Have you been paying attention or already considering the latest and greatest practice management tool? There is something purely magical about any sort of recurring revenue model that has been somewhat missing from the world of dentistry until recently. Outside of a few shining examples such as classic orthodontic payment options and a few other stabs at inhouse financial arrangements, recurring revenue streams have been foreign to the profession. Yet membership models are nothing new to the world of finance and business. At its core, oral health care is just another business model that happens to service the health and well-being of its constituents.

Statistics abound regarding the success of recurring revenue models. Everything from Amazon Prime, Costco, Lifetime Fitness, Apple Music, Netflix, Peloton, iFit, et al, the message is clear, human nature gravitates incredibly toward this type of economic structure. Even rooted within the world of tech and the core of those company processes is the notion of S.a.a.S. or software as a subscription. The big emphasis today in business, economics, and finance is how to incorporate a recurring revenue model into the operational architecture. You too, as a thriving dental practice owner, should strongly consider adding a membership program to your financial menu.

Perhaps you are contemplating reducing your own footprint within dental insurance. I assure you that having a thriving membership program is an essential step in the process of successfully reducing insurance plan dependency. Data shows that uninsured people visit the dentist less than 1 time annually. Factor in insurance or another third-party financial resource for the service and the number rises to approximately 1.6. Time, fear, money, and lack of perceived need are the primary deterrents for why people avoid going to the dentist. Since the inception, dental insurance plans have not fundamentally evolved nor kept pace with inflation such that today they really are more of a coupon/discount program versus a guardian against catastrophic events. Besides the two annual checkups, the well can run dry rather rapidly today depending on what the patient requires. The average monthly premiums for an adult hover around $50 or $600 annually. It is no shock then that with an emphasis on wellness at its core, the dental profession’s amazing and comprehensive service provided has largely been an out-of-pocket investment for the patient. With an ever-looming threat of medium to longer term inflation pressures, one must view dental insurance in a different light. It is an inherently deflationary force with virtually no tamer to keep it caged. The in-house membership program solves that dilemma rather nicely.

There are numerous organizations in the marketplace that provide a complete resource to accomplish the implementation and management for you. Kleer and Boom Cloud Apps are two prominent examples. When setting out to establish an in-office program first determine why. Our reason was simple. Back in the early 2000’s we noted an alarming increase in the number of uninsured patients in our population. The intent back then was to bridge the gap between insured and uninsured while simultaneously inspiring patients to maintain their routine of periodic oral care and incentivize them to complete operative and elective care when needed. It has served us remarkably ever since and represents a significant recurring revenue source. Today, I feel the momentum has accelerated due in large part to the explosion of a gig economy enabling people to pursue professions in almost multi-factorial fashion. Software developer by day and Uber driver by night! Embedded within this context is certainly the foundational beauty of an independent and entrepreneurial spirit. Many would prefer to be in command of the decision-making process and remain enabled to make educated decisions based upon informed interaction without restrictive governance by a third party. Some might argue to the contrary on the basis that the insurance company serves as a cost-controller and service regulator. In my opinion, the ultimate decision rests within the relationship between the patient and provider whom collectively determine the optimal course of treatment. We embodied that core principle within our in-office membership plan and continue to see positive annual growth.

We currently offer three tiers to include a pediatric, adult, and adult periodontal option. The annualized enrollment cost is set to be a win-win, equates to less than the sum total of all the included services, fits within a palatable monthly value, and is less than the annual premiums typically charged for traditional dental insurance. The plan is paid monthly or annually, rates cover all costs associated with included hygiene visits, allows for a 15% fee reduction on all other services, renews on the anniversary date of enrollment, has no exclusions/limitations other than being used at our practice, and cannot combine with any form of eligible insurance program. One might conceive of a host of iterations to such a program which is what makes an in-office membership program so ingenious. What works for my organization might not be the most optimal for another practice. The practice must really address their operation, patient population, and current trends in order to determine the efficacy of a membership plan. Simple, convenient, and affordable have proven to be the catalysts to success with our plan. In conjunction with an emphasis on oral wellness, patient relationships, and dedicated marketing strategies, our in-office membership program has proven its worth repeatedly for over 15 years. “In da Club” is where you want to be when it comes to keeping a leg up on the economics of a successful operation.

If you have any questions or would like to talk in greater depth, consider scheduling a discovery call to explore all that Dynamic Dental Ascension has to offer.

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