Each and every one of us knows that more and more potential clients have some form of dental insurance that they want to use if they choose us for a dentist. Because there is a significant difference in the cost to a potential client based on whether the doctor they select is in network or not, we are seeing more and more calls from potential new patients that end up without them making an appointment when they find out that you are not in their network of dentists. The ADA states that 94% of all dentists are in network for managed care. Whether or not you expand the number of in network dental insurance companies that you participate with is up to you, but the ripple effect of not maximizing the return on that decision is paramount to maintaining a great overhead and increasing your production each year. Practices that participate in an in network relationship can still have overheads in the 50-60% range when dental insurance is handled well.
October sort of begins the final countdown for the fiscal 2015 business year. In regard to maximizing the last quarter of the year, we want to make sure we help our patients understand that if they have dental insurance they need to use it before the end of 2015, or lose it. The strange thing about insurance is that even with significant discounts you will still have 60%+ of those insured patients not taking advantage of their plan’s benefits in any one year. You will also find that while some members of the insured family take advantage of their insurance, many will not. This brings up a pretty important marketing strategy for the last quarter of every year. We need to create a drip campaign to emphasize the “use it or lose it “ aspect of every dental plan, along with using our computerized management software to identify patients with insurance that have not taken full advantage of it benefits for every member in the household.
Marketing this usually takes the form of letters, emails, phone calls, and reminders when they are in your office. None of this will happen without a concerted, consistent plan beginning today and running through the end of December. It should be a multi-tiered marketing platform that begins with a banner ad on your website to any visitors to remind them of the time factor and how easy it is to get into the office.
Secondly, I would create a simple colored card or letter that could be slipped into any mail correspondence going out to your patients in the form of billing or insurance. Don’t forget to do the same with any bills you pay. You will be surprised at the number of patients that turn up that work at the electric company or gas company who just open the pay envelopes and discover your business card and this reminder about their insurance.
Next, I would create a newsletter or direct mail piece that also addresses the year end insurance deadline directed to just your patients of record. Keep in mind that this also works well as a reactivation contact, so be sure you send something to every patient of record. The ripple effect of this is that if they have moved you will be notified and will be able to improve your database for future marketing outreaches.
Finally, I would piggyback this important message on top of any marketing that you do during the last three months of the year. It costs nothing extra, but might prompt the procrastinator to act now and call you.
Simply click here to download examples of a few letters for year-end insurance marketing. Taking every step to insure that your new patient numbers are up and your recall percentages are above 80% is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS – If you have finally figured out that doing what you’re doing is just not getting you to where you want to be, give Summit a call at 800-252-0955 and let’s put our heads together and figure out how we can partner together to make the next 12 months deliver a totally different result.
PSS – A good friend and former client of ours, Dr. David Phelps, is hosting an important conference that you should be aware of. Just click here for details and to register.