← Back to Podcasts

Episode : #853: It’s Time to Turn Your Patients Onto Membership Plans

Podcast Description

With the changing landscape, Kiera gets very real with practices in this episode. She’s joined by Paul from Dental Menu to talk about why it is absolutely critical to get a membership plan in place. They lay out the steps to take if you’re considering dropping insurance, and how Dental Menu seamlessly slots into your practice:

  1. Create a good product

  2. Set up marketing

  3. Establish an operating procedure

  4. Go out and market

Paul even has a Dental A-Team special for those interested in working with Dental Menu! Visit http://www.dentalmenu.com/dentalateam

Episode resources:

Learn more about Dental Menu

Get a Dental A-Team special!

Connect with Paul directly: [email protected] 

Reach out to Kiera

Watch DAT Podcasts on YouTube

Practice Momentum Group Consulting

Subscribe to The Dental A-Team podcast

Become Dental A-Team Platinum!

Review the podcast

 

Transcript:

Kiera Dent (00:00.558)

Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera. And today, you guys, I am so excited because I have an amazing guest on here. And right now, I’m going to come in a little bit more firm on getting prepared as a practice. Because as I’m watching the geopolitical landscape, as I’m watching inflation, as I’m talking to practices, as I’m watching DSOs come into place, practices need to start getting prepared. And so I’m going to come in a lot stronger today on

 

insurances, you cannot keep running your practices the same way we’ve always done insurance reimbursements with inflation. Like you guys are getting a squeeze and I’m watching and I’m seeing there’s very successful profitable practices. And there’s also the ones that are really, really struggling. And I feel like it’s kind of like an hourglass and we’re starting to squeeze out that middle and you’ll either be the profitable practice or the struggling practice and it’s going to happen. It’s already in place. And so my job on the podcast is to educate you. And so I’m really pro.

 

Prepping and preparing for when you will want to drop insurance plans. And I think you need to have a membership plan in play. So Paul with Denil Menyoo, welcome to the show today. I’m glad you’re here because I think people will be dropping insurances. It’s not going to be an if it’s a when, it’s also helping people get higher practices, but they’re doing it because they’re annoyed with the, the reimbursement rates with inflation, but they have no plan in place for when they drop. And I’m watching a lot of offices that drop these patients with insurances.

 

that they have no way to retain these patients. They have no way to get them back into the practice. And then they have to turn into this fee for service with heavy marketing costs that they weren’t expecting to have. They didn’t have anything in place before they dropped. And I think a membership plan is crucial for success of dropping insurances and being prepared. We’re also in a weird election year. We’re in all these different pieces. There’s like people are nervous or worried about their benefits or worried about spending money. And membership plans, I think can create a lot more security for practices. So Paul, welcome to the show today. There’s my soapbox. Welcome.

 

Paul Lowry (01:50.522)

Yeah. Thanks, Carissa. Would you say you’re a prepper today? We need to, we need to like include some freeze dried food storage with every purchase or something.

 

Kiera Dent (01:55.246)

I think I would say I’m a prepper for sure.

 

Kiera Dent (02:01.038)

Seriously, I just think it’s like a I don’t know. I feel like my job as a consultant is I mean, it’s for better or for worse. I’m constantly expected to look for what’s going wrong and how do I solve it? I don’t think that that goes well because I can’t really shut that brain off in my marriage and I don’t think my husband loves of like this and we need to fix this. We need to fix this. I don’t think he loves that piece of me, but I think for practices, my job as a consultant is to be looking down the pipe six months, 12 months, two years from now.

 

And what’s going on? What’s going on within the world? What’s going on within dentistry? What’s going on with the trends? Like, I feel like Paul, I hate research. I’ve always hated research. In college, I hated research projects. And I feel like as a day consultant, this is why I podcast because this is how I get all my research in, in a more fun way. But yeah, for sure. I’m a prepper. Like, I don’t think the world’s gonna end. But I do think dental practices, the landscape of dentistry is shifting and it’s going to continue to shift.

 

Paul Lowry (02:55.162)

Yeah, absolutely. And membership plans are definitely a way to help with that as you’re trying to change your practice. I know we’ve been on this before, we quote this stat a lot, but one of the studies again we’ve done, 250 ,000 patients, we did ourselves only 12 out of 100 patients without insurance were still active within five years. So you’re losing your patients without dental insurance. And we see a lot of practices that are like, no, we’re not. It’s like, well, let’s see the data, because the data…

 

Kiera Dent (03:00.814)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (03:24.506)

I know you hate research, but the data doesn’t lie. And so, do you love numbers? Yeah, I mean, that same study, 64 out of 100 insurance patients were still active. So insurance, we all hate insurance for a lot of reasons, but the bottom line is they get patients to come back to a practice on a regular basis and they’ve packaged the products in a way that is easy for consumers and employers to purchase.

 

Kiera Dent (03:26.99)

I do love numbers though, Paul. So let me just throw that out there. I don’t want to run a research project, but I do love the data from it. I do.

 

Kiera Dent (03:38.478)

Wow.

 

Paul Lowry (03:54.138)

So if you’re going to complain about insurance, but two things that drive me nuts is your best patients you’re charging double or triple for, that’s dumb. It’s like, hey, you’re going to be a really good patient. I’m going to charge you triple. You’re going to be a pain in the butt. I’m going to charge you half. Like no business does that. We want to take care of our best patients, you know, my, for us, our best clients. I’m going to do whatever I can to keep them. My clients that maybe aren’t as good.

 

Kiera Dent (04:03.566)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (04:20.122)

Maybe I don’t care as much if they decide to leave, right? I mean, that’s just business in general. So first thing you’ve got to do is create a good product of services to offer your patients. If you’re no longer going to be either in network or you’re, you know, they don’t have dental insurance. What are you offering? And if it’s your full UCR rates for an exam cleaning x -rays, that’s not market competitive. To me, UCR rates are who pays MSRP when they go to Coles. If you do, you’re a moron, right? I mean,

 

Kiera Dent (04:22.446)

Right.

 

Kiera Dent (04:43.566)

Mm -hmm.

 

Kiera Dent (04:49.742)

Even like on cars, right? Like we see that too, like no one does.

 

Paul Lowry (04:51.546)

Anything like in retail if you pay retail Why like why would you do that and we’ve all had? medical bills right where it’s like Okay, you have medical bills that are just absurd and then all the insurance company beats them up And then they only pay this much no one’s gonna pay the full rate on a on a medical bill I mean, are you really gonna spend? $75 ,000 for you know the birth of a baby like you can’t

 

Kiera Dent (04:57.774)

you

 

Paul Lowry (05:20.538)

You pay that for a wedding nowadays, Kiera, but we won’t get into that.

 

Kiera Dent (05:20.974)

We’ll be in the woods. I’m gonna go to the woods. I know it’s ridiculous, no one is gonna pay those fees. They’re inflated fees feed the ego. It’s like, yeah, I could charge this much, but who’s doing that? Nobody. Everybody does that. It’s a sales tactic, right? Like normally it’d be this amount, but you’re actually getting it for this amount. And insurance funds, I agree with you. If you want to look at a good marketing company, insurance companies are brilliant. Like they figured out how to get these patients to come back to you consistently over and over and over and over and over again. And they’re still paying out of pocket, which I think is ludicrous. Like here’s a small little coupon.

 

but they keep coming because they’ve trained them into patterns and habits of what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s brilliant, like truly brilliant.

 

Paul Lowry (06:14.874)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So instead of, instead of ragging on the insurance companies, why don’t we see what they’re doing well? And why don’t we mimic what we can? Because dental insurance is a prepaid benefit. So why don’t we offer something similar to our patients where we’re collecting that revenue? And that’s really what a good membership plan should be. And I’ve been on here before, Kiera, talking about the difference between a discount plan versus a membership continuity plan. You know, you’ve got a discount plan that’s

 

a coupon or a groupon. So let’s say you, I’m in Utah, you guys want to come out here and go skiing. We’re going to try to find the best deal possible for a Lyft pass or a Lyft ticket. Doesn’t mean that we bought a season pass to that resort. It just means we’re going to go there one time for as cheap as possible, which nowadays isn’t cheap. So we’re going to try to find it as cheap as possible versus a continuity plan like membership, Netflix. We’re seeing car washes pop up all over in Utah.

 

Kiera Dent (07:09.71)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (07:09.85)

There’s a reason it’s $25 for one wash or $29 for their pass, because once they get you on that, you have two or three cars. It is crazy. You’re like, I’m paying $100 a month for car washes, and I have to go to that specific wash, right? And so that’s what you’re trying to do is don’t just sell a discount plan where it’s like, hey, I’m gonna give you a discount on services. That’s pretty short -sighted. What you wanna do is get them to commit to your practice long -term. You can’t just buy insurance.

 

Kiera Dent (07:20.59)

Yep.

 

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (07:40.57)

and get that kind of one time discount and then cancel the next day. I mean, they have the open enrollment periods and you’re paying and all that. So you want a true continuity program like a gym membership. They’re paying every month to have access to care so that you can get them on the membership plan long term. That’s how you’re going to make money. But also it’s how you’re going to take care of patients. This isn’t just about, you know, making money as a practice. This is about giving patients access to preventive care, which is pretty cool. And to dental care in general. You know, we, we heard.

 

Kiera Dent (07:59.31)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (08:10.266)

there’s an NFL player that died because he had periodontal disease. I mean, it’s crazy, right? So we’re not just trying to maximize profits. What we’re trying to do is make sure our uninsured patients have access to dental care at regular intervals so we can keep them healthy. And if you’re charging them a ludicrous amount for that preventive service that isn’t really market rate, what you’re doing is saying, hey,

 

Kiera Dent (08:14.094)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (08:33.722)

You can either pay me triple or you can go buy insurance and then I’ll give you a better deal and you’re driving them to the insurance companies because you’re not willing to offer any good alternatives.

 

Kiera Dent (08:42.478)

Right, or you’re driving them to not come back. Right? I think it’s this like weird, weird piece. I’m glad you talked about the data. I truly do love numbers. I love to read people’s research. I don’t like to go do the research. But just thinking about it, I mean, this is what I watch practices do. They come, they complain to me about their dental insurance reimbursement rates, which I agree with. I’m not here to combat that whatsoever. But then after that, what they say is,

 

Paul Lowry (08:44.89)

That’s mainly what you do, right? You drive them up.

 

Paul Lowry (08:52.922)

That’s good. Yeah.

 

Kiera Dent (09:10.158)

So what we’re gonna do, Kiera, and they get so excited, we’re gonna drop insurance because we charge all these patients our UCR fee, this is how much we’re gonna make. And we don’t even have to see all of them, so we’re fine if they don’t come back. And I’m like, that’s great, but you realize you’ve got a team, you’ve got an overhead that you’ve already budgeted based on the patients you’re currently seeing. So we go and what a lot of offices do is they drop the insurance. And then I get a frantic phone call of like, Kiera, we dropped and not a lot of them are coming. So we’ve lost all these patients.

 

Now we have open holes, my hygiene schedule is wide open. I don’t know what to do because I don’t have a marketing plan. We’ve tried to get these patients to come back in, but they don’t want to pay the office fee. Like it’s a mess. And then they panic. And then I kid you not, Paul, usually about six months a year, it’s usually about the year mark after they’ve dropped insurance, I get a call and they’re like, Kiera, I’m considering going back in network. What do you think? And I’m like, my gosh. Like the reason we’re having this like, because they’re panicking. They don’t have the patients in there. They didn’t.

 

Paul Lowry (10:02.746)

You

 

Kiera Dent (10:08.078)

all these patients that they thought loved them so much, they really were truly coming due to the insurance plan, you drop them, they’re gonna go somewhere else unless you prep and prepare and have these patients, you educate them, you start to turn them on to the membership plan, you start to make this a more appealing alternative. Like my husband has insurance through his employer. I don’t like the dentist. So I literally pay for a membership plan. But Paul, I’m such a good example of this. Before I was on a membership plan, I only went in once a year.

 

because I have access to dentists, like at my fingertips, I work with hundreds of them, I can get probably a dental cleaning anywhere in the world, like I really could go to a dentist anywhere, I’m like wherever I move, it’s fine, I’ll know somebody there. But I didn’t even go twice a year because I didn’t have a set cadence of needing to go and feeling like I needed to be there. Insurance and membership plans will force a patient to feel like they need to use their benefits. And so again, it’s just because it’s been ingrained in us for years through the insurance company. So right on that insurance company’s coattails,

 

Paul Lowry (10:41.146)

Yeah.

 

Kiera Dent (11:04.974)

Prepare your practice so that way people are already trained and ingrained. You have a plan. Your team knows how to do a membership plan. So when you drop that insurance company, the patients will still stay with you and you don’t have as big of a drop from it. The offices that I see do this very successfully have a membership plan in place. They’ve done it for about six months to a year. So the team is trained up and then they go and they start dropping insurance plans. They move them to the membership plan. And if they’re smart, they drop right around open enrollment time and they swoop right in and they become the open enrollment piece for it.

 

Like it’s very intelligent if offices just do a smidge of planning, they keep a lot of those patients and then they have no issue and their schedules are wide open, not wide open. They’re full, they’re packed, but they’re actually making more revenue and they’re being paid what they want to be paid.

 

Paul Lowry (11:50.266)

Yeah, and do it kind of gradually too, like you’re saying, you’ve got to do it over time because you’re not going to keep all those patients. And so, I mean, we talk a lot about that too. There’s really only two ways to make more money, right? You either need to get more per patient or you got to increase capacity and see more volume. Essentially, you’d have to try to grow. And so if you’re trying to make more per patient, you’ve got to be willing and realize that, yes, if we drop insurances, we need a good alternative.

 

Kiera Dent (12:04.654)

Yep. Right.

 

Paul Lowry (12:16.922)

And then you also have to realize that some of those patients that are employer paid plans, they may, they may not come back. You know, I mean, doctors don’t like to hear it, but your poop stinks, so to speak. Right. I mean, they think that they’re the best dentist ever and that patients will come to them and pay whatever. And, and that’s partially true. Like there’s better dentists, but it also gets to where cost isn’t a real issue for families. And you’ll talk to them. It’s like, well, I don’t want to go to this other dentist, but.

 

Kiera Dent (12:41.55)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (12:46.106)

Like I almost don’t have a choice kind of a thing, because those UCRs are so out of control that I just, I’m kind of forced to go somewhere else. So as you drop those, you’re going to create more capacity and you’re going to convert some of those patients to your membership plan. But you’re also going to create capacity openings to where your marketing now is effective. A lot of people stop marketing because they say, Kiera, I have no room in hygiene. I’m out eight months for hygiene. So why would I market for new patients? Okay, well, I agree with that. But as you…

 

Kiera Dent (12:53.326)

Mm -hmm.

 

Kiera Dent (13:08.078)

Correct.

 

Paul Lowry (13:13.818)

create capacity by dropping some of your low tier insurances, now you’re gonna have room for new patients. And I’m telling you right now, new patients that come in, if you don’t have a long term way to keep them coming back on a regular basis, you’re gonna churn them and you’re gonna be stuck paying that marketing company year after year after year. I was doing marketing. I had customers that paid us several thousand dollars a month for years and it was crazy because it was like, how are we generating 30 to 50 new patients a month?

 

for three or four years and you still need my services. That’s when we got into the data stuff of just like what’s going on. Those offices all had discount style plans, they were running themselves. But all it was doing was giving them a discount to close the treatment, but it wasn’t retaining in longterm. And so that’s really what you need to do with your membership plan. So you’ve got to price it correctly, you’ve got to get your team behind it, you’ve got a good standard operating procedure. And then, you know, of course you’ve got to be able to…

 

Kiera Dent (13:45.838)

Mm -hmm.

 

Kiera Dent (13:54.094)

Yeah.

 

Kiera Dent (13:59.886)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (14:11.898)

to market and get people signed up.

 

Kiera Dent (14:14.19)

for sure. And I think Paul, something you guys are doing really well, which I love. I feel like dental menu is not just a membership program, which is why I promote you guys, which is why I recommend people work with you is because I have an office that I just referred to you, they want to bring Botox into the practice. And I’m like, good luck. Botox is one of those services that like is more for the team than it is like I have yet to see successful practices. The only office I’ve ever seen that was successful is one that ran their Botox on a membership plan.

 

And so dental menu allows you to add in these like whitening and these additional services within the membership plan of what these patients would want to pay for, which I think is brilliant what you guys do. I also think that you guys have a lot of things just set up smart. You think about it from the data perspective. You think about it from the team perspective. You guys have used me of what do I think of as team members? How do we make this easier? I remember there’s one day you and I chatted about it and I was like, I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way because as a team member, that’s what I’m trying to get away from. And.

 

I love that we’ve collaborated quite a bit on your guys’ product, but I’m super excited. I want you to actually share screen and show because pricing the membership plan, I think, is always something people get scared of. And so I’m fine. If you guys want to use Paul and Dental Menu, rock on, do it. If you want to do a membership plan on your own, rock on, do it. What I think Paul and I are coming to you today to say is you’ve got to get prepared. You’ve got to get your team in place.

 

And my thing is, so that way, when you want to drop that insurance plan, because you’re so angry with it, you have things in place to where you don’t crash and burn and don’t have the patience on the other side of it, but you’re actually prepared for it. So, Paul, I actually think what you guys are building right now is super cool. So if you want to share screen, I think you can, those of you who are just listening, we’ll explain it. Don’t worry. But, those of you can see it. I think Paul has a really awesome way that they’re actually building this. So you can see how to actually set your membership plan correctly.

 

to retain these patients and keep them as long -term patients. And also, I just want to really plug, when you have a membership plan, I want you guys to think of these patients as like insurance patients, not in the way that they’re paying you, but like how long insurance retains patients for. So it’s the retention piece is what a membership plan is. It should be just having basically your own office insurance plan. I know we’re not technically allowed to say that, but if you think of it in that mindset, this is you’re wanting them to stay with you for the next 20 years.

 

Kiera Dent (16:25.422)

they just pay the membership fee as opposed to paying dental insurances.

 

Paul Lowry (16:29.434)

Yeah. Yeah. And we see like a lot of officers we work with, they say, well, hey, we’ve got a membership plan, but we kind of hide it behind the front desk and we only use it if we have to. And I usually say, well, you’ve priced it incorrectly then if you don’t want hundreds of people on your plan, it’s not designed well. It’s what it is, is it’s a discount plan and it’s kind of like, well, if you guys come to me and I do a demo with you, I’m going to see if I think I’m going to sell you. And if I do, then I’m going to charge you my full rate, but.

 

If I don’t think I’m going to sell you, then I’m going to start discounting. We’ve all been, we’ve all tried to buy a car or something where it’s like, like just like, do I have to act like I’m not interested? So I’ll get a better deal, you know? And that’s kind of what happens with those membership plans. And so you can see my screen here. We’ve got a pricing tool for anybody that’s listening to your podcast, Kiera, if they want to reach out to you or reach out to me, we would share this pricing tool at no charge.

 

So even if you guys wanna do it yourself or you wanna look at doing it yourself, you wanna just analyze prices within your own ecosystem without even talking to us, I’ll send you this link. You guys can knock yourself out and play around with it. Happy to share. We’re real open with our education. So what we like to do is look at your UCR fees of included benefits, exams, x -rays, cleaning, and so on. If you’re gonna do any panoramic things or fluoride or things like that, we can look at those too.

 

Kiera Dent (17:41.23)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (17:54.81)

when you’re looking at your plan, like Kiera said, we’re not allowed to call this insurance, but it is kind of funny because if you were gonna go and network with an insurance company, what would you wanna see? Like you’re gonna wanna see a fee schedule, right, before you sign the contract? Seriously, you’re gonna, well, what are you gonna actually pay me? Because I’m not saying yes until I know. Well, it’s funny, because on membership plans, you’re willing to go and network with yourself, and you don’t even know, you’re just like, I don’t know, 300 bucks a year sounds good to me, that’s what.

 

Kiera Dent (17:56.694)

Thank you.

 

Kiera Dent (18:16.462)

Mm -hmm.

 

Kiera Dent (18:24.142)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (18:24.442)

That’s what somebody told me or that’s what the office down the street and there’s so many variables. So if you look at the screen here, it’s good to look at your cleaning, your exam, your x -rays. What do you want to actually be paid when you do those services? So you’ll notice on this slider down here, the recommended monthly price, if you want to be paid, you know, here’s kind of your estimated insurance payouts at 40 % right off with your UCRs and we can get your actual numbers and plug them in here. But if you look at,

 

getting paid these amounts here for services, you’d need to charge $32 a month. That would give you 67 or 65 for the x -rays, 49 for exams, 110 for the cleaning. You’d need to charge $32 a month or $384 a year. If you say, well, hey, that’s not enough, I’d wanna be paid more. I wanna be paid my full UCR is 150 for a cleaning, 70 for exams and 95 for x -rays. Your monthly price is 45 a month. And so I may ask you, okay,

 

That may be great for you, but is that marketable for patients in your area? Because if you’re charging your full UCRs, why would I sign up for a membership if I’m not getting any savings? So you’ve got to kind of balance that out. If you’re willing to accept insurances at these rates and you’re writing 40 % off, well, you might want to give them a better deal on the preventive services that keep them coming back on a regular basis. But again, you’re only going to set a 15 or 20 % discount off your UCRs on treatment.

 

That’s where you’re going to make your money is your crowns, root canals, fillings, implants, and so on. But you’ve got to have a tool to keep them coming back on a regular basis. So it’s not exact science, but you want to have that happy medium of making a, you know, creating a better deal for patients while still making profitability. Now, if you’re paying your, your hygienist on collections or your associate doctors on collections or things like that, you know, maybe you want to look at, at bumping this up so that they’re making more. Your hygienist is making more on a

 

cleaning than she is with an insurance plan. That’s going to get her to present it, right? And so setting this up right so your providers as well, they’re being compensated. And we won’t talk about that really today, but that’s one of the things DentalMenu does. It just allows you to match up your collections and production real time when services are used. So you’re not adjusting services to zero so that you’re not taking off your providers because they won’t promote the plan if they’re getting a zero record on the ledger on collections when they do services.

 

Paul Lowry (20:49.498)

because then they’re not making any money. That’s a big problem we see as well. At any rate, you can include breakage as well. So insurance companies, how do they make money, Kiera? Do they make money by paying claims out that equal their premiums? Definitely not, right? So premiums minus claims equals profit for an insurance company, correct? So the amount you’re charging every month,

 

Kiera Dent (20:52.686)

Right.

 

Kiera Dent (21:05.55)

Definitely not.

 

Kiera Dent (21:12.526)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (21:15.802)

We’re basically basing them on coming right on time for services. Those that are listening, do your patients ever call you and move their exam cleaning x -rays appointment? Or do they ever no show? Right. And so when they move those appointments, this is a gym membership, they have access to a cleaning every six months. If they call you and they say, hey, Kiera, I’m going on vacation or I’m sick or…

 

Kiera Dent (21:26.67)

Never. They’re perfect. They’re stuck there like glue.

 

Paul Lowry (21:42.17)

Maybe they make up an excuse, but in reality, I just don’t feel like coming in today. So I need to move my cleaning appointment and then the offices we work with get all bent out of shape. my whole schedule is falling apart, it’s falling apart and you didn’t give me your, you know, 60 day notice, whatever really it is. So when, when they move their appointment, which a lot of times they will, you’re just going to move that appointment. But guess what? They’re still paying. They’re paying your monthly membership gym membership fee.

 

Kiera Dent (21:57.742)

Ha ha!

 

Paul Lowry (22:10.394)

They don’t get two cleanings a year, they get access to it for 32 bucks a month. So when you kick them out and you see them at month seven, you just captured seven monthly payments for that cleaning instead of six. You see the patient at month seven, you’re not going to pre -appoint them five months out because they came in late. You’re going to pre -appoint them back out six more months. If you talk to patients, if they come in at month eight, they don’t want to see you again in four months for a cleaning. They’ve got time. You know, their time’s valuable. So.

 

You capture some of that breakage like an insurance company would by running it as a true continuity program. So this little button here, you can either capture all that breakage yourself, or if you want to pass some of that on to patients, you can, and that’ll lower the monthly price. That’s what insurance companies do, right? They pass breakage onto employers because they know it’s going to be so high. They pass some of it onto employers because it lowers the premium, which gets more employers to pay for it for employees.

 

They don’t pass all the breakage on, but they pass some of it on. And so you can do that in the pricing module as well. But this is a good way to look at your plans is how much do you want to make for an exam cleaning x -rays and then do the math so that you’re charging appropriately monthly and annually so that you’re happy and realize what you’re making with insurance versus what you’re making on your membership plan. So you can go through that.

 

If you’re seeing kids and you’re only scheduling them 30 minutes in the chair and you can see twice as many in hygiene, how much do you really need to charge for a child cleaning? Make it cheaper for families to come in and do that. If you’re doing perio type stuff, what do you need to make for your perio maintenance? So go through all that process. We’ve got a cool rewards program as well. I know we’ve talked about that on here before too, Kiera. When a patient gets a cleaning on the plan,

 

they earn $25 towards treatment that may be needed in the future as long as their plan stays active. Well, you can imagine once they get some rewards, they don’t ever want to cancel their plan. So they just keep coming in and it ties them to the practice. And it also gives them an amount towards treatment. I’ve seen offices that drop insurances, they’ll do a rewards program that’s like a hundred or 150 or $200 of rewards when they get their cleaning so that every year they get two, three, $400 towards treatment.

 

Paul Lowry (24:19.45)

Now obviously those plans have to cost more than 25 a month. They’ve got to cost 50, 60, 70 bucks a month, but they’re really rich in benefits, right? They get, and your membership plan doesn’t dictate what types of materials go in the mouth either. You can actually sell them the better materials that last longer, that look better, and they’re going to be able to pay for those. So we would go through all this process with you. Again, I’m happy to send this. You’ll set that discount that you want on restorative work. You’re…

 

We’re seeing 40 to 45 % now, Kiera, is what the write -offs are on restorative work. And so again, if you’re writing off 15 or 20%, that’s a better deal for patients, but you’re still making quite a bit more than you are on insurance. So this varies depending on whether offices are trying to grow, whether they’re at capacity, whether they’re dropping insurances, right? We’re gonna go through kind of this with our offices, but figure out the way to build a program so that you’re profitable.

 

but you’re offering a good product to patients so that they’re gonna convert and then your marketing is gonna be more effective and you’re gonna end up making more per patient as you fill in those gaps.

 

Kiera Dent (25:28.942)

Yeah, no, I really love that. And thanks for sharing your screen on that. And for those of you who couldn’t see it, I would definitely say like, pop on, come look at it, see. We’ll also make sure that we have that on social for you. But I think like the coolest thing about this is it just shows how to get those, like what your UCR is, which like we know most likely you’re not charging. What we’re paying for insurance is, so when we drop it, even if you’re making 10 or 20 bucks more per procedure, that’s already a great piece in that way you can have it there.

 

Paul Lowry (25:48.026)

Yeah.

 

Kiera Dent (25:58.414)

And you can also check to make sure like the hygienist, I know that that’s a big thing with membership plans. They don’t want a zero dollar cleaning. So this shows how much each procedure is going to be. And I know Dental Menu does a really good job of tracking the money, making sure that we’re able to like pay it because I know like it’s like an annoying thing for offices of how do we actually pay this out? But I think you guys have done a really great job on the tracking side of it as well too.

 

Paul Lowry (26:19.226)

And think of this, Kiera, like if you’re a solo practitioner, you’re making your money on treatment, what if you were to go like this for the exam and not get paid for it? Cause do you really need to? You on the practice, you’re seeing the patients, you’re getting treatment, and then you’re to go like this for the hygienist. We’ve even seen people go above UCRs. So hygienists, look, if you have a fee for service patient, if you get them on the membership plan, you’ll actually make more off that patient than you would if they stay fee for service. Talk about getting your…

 

Kiera Dent (26:38.51)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (26:48.73)

back office, you know, behind the plan. I mean, it’s kind of interesting. So there’s fun ways to, and the plan is building the raisin for the hygienist. We hear a lot about, you know, how do we get more hygienists? They’re costing too much, all these kinds of things. We’ll build it into the cost of the plan so that the patient is generating the revenue in the hygiene department to compensate your hygienist. You’re not, you’re not just having to make less as a doctor just because you want to pay your hygienist more. You’re setting up a program that’s generating revenue.

 

so that all parties win, hygienist, patient, and owner of the practice, everybody’s gonna make money.

 

Kiera Dent (27:22.254)

Mm -hmm, which I just think again is a really good piece. So I feel like getting this set up, figuring out how to set your pricing right, getting it in the practice so people want to do this. And I love this sliding scale. And for those of you listening, we’re basically taking it from like 77 % of the UCR up to like 120 or 150 % of UCR dropping the exam. So you can play with it because I agree. Now, if you have an associate doctor, they might want those exams, but exams are not really their production. Like it is. I’m not just saying.

 

it is their production. What I’m trying to say is it’s not the bulk of what their paycheck is based on. Their bulk of their paycheck is based on the treatment. And so if we can find a way to incentivize the hygienist to get them on here, you’re making more per procedure because the reimbursement rates are higher for you. So there’s a ton of ways I love that you can just do this for adults, for children, for perio. I think it just makes it very clear and you can see what percentage versus just like haphazardly making a number up to pay for it.

 

Paul Lowry (28:15.226)

 yeah, totally. Yeah. And then I know I wanted to talk just real briefly too about, so once you have kind of from a high level, you got to think if you are starting a business, right? All right, hey, Kiera, let’s start a business. We’re selling widgets, whatever it is, right? It doesn’t really matter. But the first thing you’ve got to do is figure out your costs. You got to figure out what your widget is.

 

Kiera Dent (28:19.438)

Awesome. Well, Paul, I think, yeah, go ahead.

 

Paul Lowry (28:42.266)

You got to figure out your costs and you got to get some marketing materials up. You got to build a website and then you got to go sell your product and fulfill on it. I mean, that’s essentially really all you’re doing with a membership plan is okay. Insurance takes all of your services. They bundle them up. They beat the crap out of you and then they figure out how to sell them and make a profit. And so you’re going to do the same thing, but you’re not going to beat yourself up, right? But essentially you’ve got to look at your services and bundle them into.

 

into a product and then you’ve got to go sell them. And then the last piece, of course, is you’ve got to have a way to fulfill or manage those. And so that’s really what we’re trying to help with is help you price it. We’ll build some marketing materials, right? We’ll build a cool landing page. We’ll build the ability for patients to sign up. Here’s kind of what those look like. We’ll help with those add -ons that we were talking about. Here’s where they can look at different services and upgrade and things like that. So they’re going to build all those things out. And then after that,

 

we’ve got a really cool system and we’ve touched on it that’s gonna integrate with practice management software. It’s gonna help the front desk have a good standard operating procedure. It’s gonna match collections and productions real time when services are used. So you’re not adjusting things off. There’s not gonna be the ability for mistakes and fraud and all the stuff that we see. And then after that, we actually do, this is a new service that we’re offering here. I’ll show this on the screen as well.

 

but we are offering some internal marketing services as well. So if you’re dropping insurances, let’s say you’ve got a low tier insurance that has, I don’t know, 80 patients on it. So you drop that insurance, you get 10 of them to convert over to your membership plan during open enrollment, you get 20 of them to still be billed out of network and they’re still with you and you’re billing out of network and you lose 50 of them, which that’s.

 

That’s a reality, right guys? You’re not gonna convert 100 % of these patients over to your membership program. So you lose 50 of them. So what are you gonna do? How are you gonna create patients into those capacity holes? And so what we’re doing is we’re sorting patients in the practice management software, putting them in three buckets, patients with dental insurance who haven’t been in for 12 plus months. Guess what guys, when people lose their dental benefits, their insurance, they don’t usually call their…

 

Kiera Dent (30:31.758)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (30:58.618)

dentist and say, hey, just so you know, I wanted to update my dentrix record. I just want you guys to know I no longer have my insurance. FYI, nobody does that. Guess what they do? They don’t come in. They don’t show up and all of a sudden they’re passed due for recall and you’re calling them saying, hey, you need to come back in. Guess what they’re thinking in the back of their mind? Well, I don’t have insurance and I don’t want to pay for this. And it’s an unknown cost and it’s scary. Some of them don’t think they can even access care because in the medical world,

 

Kiera Dent (31:02.83)

Yeah.

 

Right. Mm -hmm.

 

Right.

 

Kiera Dent (31:22.478)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (31:27.098)

Sometimes you can’t even access care if you don’t have insurance. And so they don’t even realize that they can still come. So we’re gonna go in, we’re gonna look at the patients with dental insurance who haven’t been in for 12 plus months, patients without dental insurance who haven’t been in for 12 plus months, and all the rest of your patients. For each group, we’re gonna send an email and a text message with a link to your landing page with your membership plan. We’re gonna have a video educating about it, and we’re gonna invite them to sign up for the membership plan. So.

 

Kiera Dent (31:42.534)

Thank you.

 

Kiera Dent (31:46.734)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (31:55.194)

ones that show they have dental insurance, we’re talking about using their benefits. By the way, if you don’t have it, come in. Ones without dental insurance, we’re talking to them a little bit differently. And then all the rest of the patients were just doing kind of an an Hey, look, we’ve got this great new plan. And then ones that don’t have insurance, Kiera, we’re, actually, we’ll talk to the front office. We’ll find their scheduling preferences. We’ve got to see what the blocks are, where we can schedule. And then we’ll actually mask the phone number. We’ll call on behalf of the office.

 

Kiera Dent (31:58.67)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (32:24.378)

And then we’re going to actually sell the membership plan and schedule them in the practice management software. So your front desk shows up. They’re going to have a signed, sealed, delivered patient that has signed up for the membership plan and schedule an appointment. Depending on how big these lists are, we’re getting anywhere from 10 to 30 patients signed up for the membership plans in a 60 day period. So imagine, you know, you hire us, we get in there, we build this thing and you get 20 membership patients paying you 30 bucks a month that fill those holes. What’s that worth to you?

 

Kiera Dent (32:43.15)

Wow.

 

Paul Lowry (32:54.522)

It should be worth a lot, right? And so the other thing that I kind of like to talk about is you’ve got your front office. She’s doing a lot of reactive tasks. And so if you think she’s going to be proactive making these calls, you probably should think again, because she doesn’t want to do them. And she might do one or two here or there, but it’s going to take you years to get through that list. If you have us do it, I mean, we’re really cheap. We offer a discount for Dental A Team members.

 

Kiera Dent (33:00.846)

Thank you.

 

Paul Lowry (33:20.634)

If you sign up for dental menu, we’re actually doing this entire campaign for a one -time fee of 495. It’s a loss leader, but we want to get patients on the plan. And obviously if we get patients on the plan, you stay on our platform long -term. I mean, I’m not, it’s, you know, I’ve got ulterior motives if you want to look at it that way, but we don’t have any contracts either. So even if we got these patients for you, and if for some reason you don’t think our software is worthwhile, no, no worry. But I guess my point is,

 

Kiera Dent (33:37.87)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (33:47.61)

This is really inexpensive. If you get 20 existing patients reactivated for 500 bucks, it’s the best ROI you’re ever going to get on any kind of marketing. Now, once you have that, you’re going to have to turn to your external marketing. And you know, know, Kiera’s some people I’m sure she could refer. We could as well. We don’t do that. But when you’re doing external marketing, you’ve got to think about it from a patient lens. Pain is the biggest motivator.

 

Kiera Dent (33:51.246)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (34:15.706)

Pain is amazing to motivate patients, whether they have insurance or not. If you don’t have insurance and you’ve got the need for a root canal, it doesn’t matter what it costs, right? You’re gonna go in and get that taken care of. But if you’re not in pain and you’ve gotta get that person off the couch and into the dental practice, you’ve gotta have some sort of offers. And if the offer is, hey, come in, we’ll do an exam cleaning x -rays and we’ll give you a surprise bill somewhere between 300 and $1 ,000 when you’re done, that’s not gonna get new patients in the door.

 

Kiera Dent (34:19.726)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (34:44.474)

You’ve got to have a good way to have them access care. And so I’m being kind of long -winded, but the marketing is really awesome to get patients. Like you’ve said, you’ve got to have a plan. So if you want to get off the insurances, you’ve got to create a good product. You’ve got to get some marketing stuff set up. You’ve got to get a good standard operating procedure and a fulfillment mechanism for your team so they’re not hating life. And then you’ve got to go market. I mean, those are the steps. And so…

 

Kiera Dent (34:44.878)

Right.

 

Paul Lowry (35:12.442)

Do it yourself if you want, that’s awesome. We’ve got educational videos on our website, they’re free, go ahead and watch them. Do a call with me, I’m happy to tell you tons of stuff that we know and walk through things. I’ll give you some free information and then go for it and execute it. And if you want help with those steps, obviously we’re happy to help you, that’s why we have a company. We feel like there’s things we can do to really help you, but put a plan in place and execute on the plan like any other business owner would do with a business.

 

Kiera Dent (35:41.166)

Yeah, no, and Paul, I love that you guys talked about the setting the pricing and then also the marketing. I mean, just the fact of getting that many patients back into your practice alone can really help. And I love that you guys have it tiered. Like for those of you just listening, it’s like there’s an email and text message for people with dental insurance, without dental insurance, and patients who have had an appointment in the last 12 months. So really a lot of opportunities. And I think that that is just the benefit of a company versus a DIY.

 

is that you have more tools and resources because you guys are working with hundreds of practices. So Paul, I love what you guys are doing. I think there’s so many cool advancements, but like we said, it’s the prepping time of getting these things in place right now. So that way when, when you want to drop insurances or when the landscape’s changing or when patients are leery, all those pieces are going to come into play for you. So I would just really encourage you like reach out. I love Dental Menu. I think they’re one of the best membership programs out there. I think they make it very easy. And I think that they’re very smart business wise.

 

and team -wise and patient -wise. So Paul, how can people connect with you? I know you said go to the website, but how can they get connected with you directly?

 

Paul Lowry (36:44.698)

Yeah, so you can, one thing too, I want to point out, Keurig, sometimes this is a challenge. So everything we do is white labeled. Patients are still paying your practice directly. They’re not signing up for a dental menu plan. And so all we’re doing is taking your DIY plan and giving you some amazing tools to sell more patients and to manage it better. It’s, you’re still controlling the whole revenue stream. If you fired us, you’re still controlling that revenue stream, which is not the case with a lot of membership platforms out there. So just, I want to make that clear that,

 

Kiera Dent (36:52.558)

Awesome.

 

Paul Lowry (37:15.258)

It’s still your plan, right? You use tools all the time. So if you want to dig a swimming pool with a shovel, you can. If you want to dig a swimming pool with a backhoe, you can. It’s still your swimming pool, right? And you can decide how you want to structure it. So if you want to get in touch with me, you can go to the website. You can just email me directly, Paul @ DentalMenu .com. That’s D -E -N -T -A -L -E -M-E -N-U .com. That’s probably the best way to get ahold of me. I mean, you can look us up on

 

Kiera Dent (37:17.326)

Right.

 

Kiera Dent (37:26.894)

Mm -hmm.

 

Paul Lowry (37:42.202)

LinkedIn or Facebook or those kinds of things, but shoot me an email. We’re happy to work with you. You can go to the website for those educational modules. We’ve got an assessment tool you can look at. You can schedule a demo there. If you put on there again that you came from Dental A Team, then you’re gonna get that discount on the marketing as well. So those are probably the best ways. And I’m happy to chat with anybody that wants to reach out.

 

Kiera Dent (38:04.878)

for sure. I truly think Paul you guys do such a great job of educating and I appreciate you. So like I said, everyone, I really would love you to like I said, I’m coming a little stronger of get prepared now. So that way you have opportunities and options and you don’t you aren’t like those practices who just drop and then try and rebuild. You guys are smarter than that you’re more educated and so reach out. So Paul, thanks for being on the podcast today. Thanks for sharing all those things. I’m so excited for you guys. I feel like

 

Paul Lowry (38:19.886)

Yeah.

 

Kiera Dent (38:30.222)

the landscape of dentistry is actually coming into such a beautiful positive and you don’t have to be like shackled to insurance anymore unless you want to. I think there’s more options out there. Yes, you have to think differently, but so many options. So Paul, thanks for being here today. It was great to chat. Of course, and for all of you listening, thanks for listening and I’ll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.

 

Paul Lowry (38:37.754)

Yeah.

 

Paul Lowry (38:43.866)

Yeah, thanks for having me, Kare, appreciate it.

Recent Podcasts

Episode

#865: Stop Being Afraid of Your PnL

As a follow-up to episode 858 (), Tiff and Dana circle back to focus on managing your practice’s debt by knowing your PnL. They touch on how to interpret your numbers, considering whether the debt is worth it, healthy money ranges, and a ton more….

Listen Now

Episode

#864: Earn More & Work Less

Re-releasing one of DAT’s most popular episodes! Dr. Jesse Green is back on the podcast to share more real-life experiences of a dentist. In this episode, Dr. Green shares with Kiera how to move your practice from being profitable to scalable. He…

Listen Now

Episode

#863: 3 Tips for Upping Your Internal Referral Game

Tiff and Dana are wrapping up their series of marketing-focused episodes. This week, they discuss internal referrals. They talk about three things to ramp up success with these referrals: Identify your why Know your patient avatar Bring a…

Listen Now

Episode

#862: Getting Team Buy-in For a New Service

Brad Titensor with Dental Warranty is back already! This time, he and Kiera talk about getting your team excited about incorporating and utilizing a new service in the practice, including: steps for integration, goal-setting, building habits, and what…

Listen Now