Amol Nirgudkar, CPA, CGMA, and Co-Founder of Patient Prism LLC, interviews Lauren Kelly, Assistant Director of Sales of Careington International, about Launch Loyalty, a platform developed for dental practices to design their own in-house discount dental plan, with the assurance that their in-house plan is nationally compliant with all state regulations, easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to market. The monthly cost for the software tools and marketing materials supplied by Careington is only $99 per month per practice.
In this video, Lauren Kelly and Amol Nirgudkar discuss the rising need that has led to the development of this service that all dental practices can afford and from which both the practice and its uninsured patients will benefit. They discuss findings on patient behavior, rising revenue from patients that would otherwise have lain dormant, and revenues from patients with Launch Loyalty plans that are exceeding revenues from patients with PPO plans.
Removing Financial Barriers to Dental Care
The synchronicity of Patient Prism and Launch Loyalty are explored as they talk about removing barriers to patient care. There are two impediments Launch Loyalty enables dental practices to remove. The first is patient access to dental care, and the second is patient acceptance of treatment. Both are accomplished by making dentistry financially palatable to patients who do not have dental benefits provided by their employers.
Nirgudkar reveals that 35 to 40 percent of patients are not booking even the first appointment because they can’t get over the cost hurdle. They call dental practices to inquire about an appointment and the fee, then don’t book. The financial burden is not only the first thing new patient callers bring up, but also the final thing as they hang up the phone. They are brave enough to make the call but saddened to learn there is no offer of help. The emotional lift of offering an in-office discount plan is evident on calls to practices that not only offer an in-office plan, but also are comfortable talking about their plan. These practices schedule more new patients because they offer to make dentistry more affordable. They are obviously striving to help patients rather than gouge them. This has long term positive affect on patients, and the plans foster practice loyalty.
“We’re coaching the dental front desk to identify opportunities where they can bring that conversation up,” says Nirgudkar.
“By the way, it's OK for you to be uninsured. We can help you get the treatment that you deserve.”
Private Label In-House Dental Discount Plans
Lauren Kelly is director of sales for Careington’s new Launch Loyalty program and is eager to help dental practices private label their own plans and discount plans without falling out of compliance.
“Obviously, we live in a country where there are laws and regulations, sometimes too much, and not all of us like them, but we still have to comply. Just because we don't like them doesn't mean we can lie. So, Launch Loyalty was created to help group practices, initially, to offer a discount plan to go to their members or to their patients. And now it's evolving,” says Kelly. “Our focus was really to help get more discount plans in offices. And the reason for that is, over the last few years, we've seen a lot more large employer groups that used to sponsor traditional benefits for their employees drop those benefits or move to a voluntary model, because insurance companies have had to increase their premiums.”
Patients Save Money on Dental Care
A lot more dental practices are creating in-house plans and consumers are online shopping for dental discount programs. “We’ve seen tremendous growth since the ACA plans rolled out and since all these impacts have hit of the market. We have had a lot of dental offices wanting to do something to help patients that do not have insurance.”
DSOs were the pioneers of creating in-house discount programs. “They’d say: OK, we're going to take our usual customary rates and discount those procedure-by-procedure or provide flat discounts. But, we're going to create a custom program so that when that patient comes in that doesn't have dental insurance, we can say, ‘Well, today, it looks like your treatment plan is going to cost about $1200, but if you sign up for our VIP dental plan, we're going to take that down to $675.’ The patient would say yes,” says Kelly.
Practices with in-house discount plans reap the benefits of increased treatment acceptance, which means increased revenues. “Patients are coming in more often, and the patients are happy, too. They are telling their family members and friends about it,” says Kelly. It has really taken off, and this segment of Careington’s dental insurance business is growing fast.