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The Art of Pricing: Setting the Right Fee for Your In-House Dental Membership Plan

In today’s rapidly evolving dental landscape, in-house membership plans are gaining prominence. As dental practices grapple with the nuances of insurance, PPOs, and self-pay patients, membership plans offer a beacon of hope, a bridge that connects practices with a growing segment of uninsured patients. But a pivotal question arises – how should you price your in-house dental membership plan?

Traditionally, the calculation of membership fees involves cost analysis, desired profit margins, and sometimes even consultation with financial experts. However, let’s take a detour from the conventional and explore a more straightforward, unconventional approach to pricing – one that aligns perfectly with the primary goal: retaining patients and ensuring they never feel the need to shop elsewhere.

The Contemporary Rise of Dental Membership Plans

Before we delve deep into pricing, it’s essential to understand the context. Why are dental practices increasingly moving towards membership plans? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Bypassing Insurance Hassles: With membership plans, dental practices can steer clear of insurance-related administrative burdens, claim denials, and delayed payments.
  2. Predictable Revenue Stream: Membership fees offer a steady, predictable income, making financial planning smoother for practices.
  3. Enhanced Patient Relationship: These plans foster a stronger patient-practice relationship by encouraging regular check-ups and preventive care, integral for long-term dental health.
  4. Control Over Treatment Protocols: Without the constraints of insurance dictating treatment protocols, dentists have the autonomy to recommend what’s genuinely best for the patient.

Amidst these reasons, let’s introduce another pivotal one: Not losing uninsured patients to the competition. It’s a simple, yet profoundly impactful reason.

Uninsured Patients: A Reality Check

Research indicates that nearly 20% of dental patients are uninsured. That’s a significant chunk of individuals potentially shopping around, seeking value for their hard-earned money. You don’t want to lose even one of these patients. Why? Because every patient is not just a one-time transaction but a long-term relationship, a testament to the quality and trustworthiness of your practice.

The Unconventional Pricing Strategy

So, how do you ensure these uninsured patients see the utmost value in your practice? Keep your membership fee enticingly affordable. While it might be tempting to price your membership at $300 or $400, based on cost and desired profit calculations, consider the broader perspective.

Setting the annual membership fee at a more accessible figure, perhaps $100 or $150, achieves a vital goal – maximizing member sign-ups. At a higher price point, the fee might become a barrier for many, discouraging them from joining.

Now, here’s the pivotal point to emphasize: The objective is not revenue generation from the membership fee itself, but from the treatments members avail due to the offered discounts. By keeping the entry point (membership fee) affordable, you’re encouraging a higher volume of patients to walk through your doors. Once they’re members, the likelihood of them availing treatments, given the member-exclusive discounts, skyrockets.

Redefining Profitability

This approach redefines profitability. Instead of viewing the membership fee as a significant revenue source, perceive it as an investment. An investment in patient loyalty, in long-term relationships, and in the overall growth of your practice. When patients feel they’re receiving exceptional value – both in terms of quality and cost – they not only stay but often become ambassadors for your practice, referring friends and family.

Conclusion: The Big Picture in Pricing

In a world where businesses often focus on short-term gains, taking a patient-centric approach in pricing your dental membership plan is refreshing. It demonstrates empathy, understanding, and a genuine commitment to patient well-being. So, as you sit down to crunch numbers and set that membership fee, remember the broader objective: unparalleled patient loyalty and sustained practice growth. By offering incredible value at the entry point, you lay the foundation for a thriving, patient-focused practice.


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