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May 2024

Unleashing Patient Loyalty with Dental Membership Plans

Dental care systems are fragmented and hard to navigate. Learn key strategies to empower your patients with a great experience....


Sudha Vetri

Founder & CEO


The dental industry is fiercely competitive. Finding ways to make dental services more affordable without sacrificing your bottom line is a constant challenge.Fortunately, there's a strategy that benefits both providers and patients alike.

One of the best ways to attract and retain more patients is to make your services more affordable. Imagine achieving this without affecting your bottom line.

Great News: Providing Affordable Dental Care is Achievable!

Let's delve into the world of dental membership plans. These plans are not only making dental care more affordable for patients but are also boosting revenue and loyalty for practices. 

Understanding Dental Membership Plans 

Dental membership plans are innovative subscription services that allow patients to pay for their dental care monthly, rather than facing a hefty upfront cost. This model is particularly beneficial given that more than 25% of adults in the U.S. lack dental insurance, with the number rising to 33% among those over 60. Here are some of the key benefits dental membership plans offer dental offices and dental service organizations:

1. Faster payment. Receive payments faster than traditional billing methods. And, if a patient doesn’t make a payment, you no longer have to chase down payments; it’s the membership plan administrator’s responsibility.

2. Recurring revenue. Once patients enroll in your plan, you’ll be getting recurring monthly revenue from them. Some platforms (like Subscribili ) also offer online booking for future appointments, increasing your revenue and reducing the workload for your front office team. 

3. Easy to manage. Dental membership plans are managed by third-party software platforms, which are designed to be easy to use for office managers and staff. Some companies (like Subscribili) even offer a white-label service, so you can seamlessly integrate the plans into your practice’s website. 

4. Customizable. Tailor your plans to meet the specific needs of your practice and patients. Most membership software platforms enable you to design your own plans, so you can choose which services you want to be covered, payment frequency (monthly vs. annual), and more. Some vendors even help you optimize your plans to ensure the best value for patients and your practice. 

5. Enhanced Patient Loyalty. Many patients without affordable dental care options tend to visit the dentist infrequently and may hop between practices in search of new patient specials or lower costs. Dental membership plans provide a solution by offering a consistent and affordable care option, which encourages patients to remain with a single provider. 

This not only increases patient loyalty but also stabilizes your patient base, as individuals are more likely to return to a practice where they know the costs are manageable and the care is reliable. Patients also win big, with over 90% of Americans delaying dental visits due to cost concerns. Membership plans address this issue head-on, making dental care more accessible and predictable. 

Choosing the Right Membership Platform 

When selecting a dental membership platform, consider the following. Ask yourself these questions as you connect with different vendors. 

  • Flexibility in Plan Offering Options: Do they offer annual or monthly payments? High upfront costs or activation fees? Comprehensive services or discount plans?
  • Cost of Services: Evaluate the fee structure. Is it commission-based or a flat monthly fee? Are there additional charges for integration with your Practice Management System (PMS)?
  • Licensing and Compliance: Make sure to discuss licensing requirements in the states in which you operate. This is a critical and often overlooked component of an effective membership offering. 

Many states require specific licenses for plan operators, with strict annual reporting requirements to maintain them. Offering membership plans without the proper licensing can put your practice at serious legal risk. Will the vendor be responsible for maintaining these licenses, or are they simply providing software and leaving the licensing requirements to you? Partnering with a fully licensed vendor provides you with the confidence that your plans are fully compliant. 

  • Additional Features and Integration: Investigate what other services the platform offers. Does it integrate seamlessly with your PMS or Electronic Health Records (EHR)? Are analytics and custom reports available? These features can provide valuable insights into your patient demographics and help you refine your service offerings for optimal growth. Many platforms require patients to log into a third-party website to schedule appointments and make payments, which can be confusing. Opt for a white-label service like Subscribili, which integrates directly into your practice’s website for a smoother, more professional patient experience. Additionally, look for vendors that offer complimentary marketing materials, such as plan brochures in both English and Spanish, and posters, which can be a boon for practices operating on tight budgets. 
  • Data Control and Contract Terms: Ensure that the membership plan administrator grants your practice full access to Protected Health Information (PHI) and other critical data, including credit card tokens, especially in the event of contract termination. It’s important to carefully review the contract to ensure there are no golden handcuff clauses that restrict your flexibility to change providers or limit your control over patient data. By carefully evaluating these points, you can choose a dental membership platform that not only meets your clinical and business needs but also enhances the overall experience for your patients, fostering greater loyalty and satisfaction 

Ready to offer dental subscription plans? Follow these 4 steps for successful implementation:

1. Define Your Goals: Sketch out plans that cover desired services and discounts. Determine the price points that make sense for your practice. Consider: Which services are covered? Are both annual and monthly payment options available, and if monthly, will there be a higher upfront cost or a one-time activation fee? What discount rates are available for services not included in the plan? Are there comprehensive plans that include exams and hygiene at no extra cost, and how will service utilization be tracked? What is the pricing for your plans? Would a lower-cost discount plan be beneficial? These plans typically offer discounts without inclusions, encouraging ongoing patient visits. 

2. Select a Plan Administrator: Choose a licensed vendor like Subscribili. As you evaluate different software providers, consider involving multiple stakeholders in the decision-making process. Select a partner who can assist with plan creation, defining discounts, implementation, and training & support. It’s crucial to ensure that the membership plans are practical and beneficial for both your office staff and dentists. 

3. Educate Your Team: A comprehensive meeting equips your team with the necessary details for managing and promoting subscription plans. A partner like Subscribili will provide demonstrations on how to effectively pitch the plans, identify target personas, and discuss strategies for patient engagement and enrollment. 

4. Market to Your Patients: Use customized marketing materials to inform and excite your patients about the new plan options. Highlight how these plans can make dental care more affordable. Of course, if you go with a service like Subscribili, this part is already taken care of for you. When you sign up with us, we outfit your office with plan brochures and custom landing pages for your website. 

Final Thoughts: By integrating a dental membership plan into your practice, you position yourself as a forward-thinking provider who prioritizes patient care and affordability. Ready to see how Subscribili can transform your practice? Schedule your demo today


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