The end of the year brings hectic and stressful times for all of us — enhanced this year in light of inflation and staffing shortages. It also brings opportunity.
Completing needed dental treatment may well be the last thing on the minds of your patients as the holidays arrive.
Do you want to give your patients a gift they will truly appreciate? Focus the dental team on conducting open and sincere conversations regarding treatment recommendations, provide insurance and financing options, and encourage them to schedule before the end of the year to best utilize dental benefits -— and find an appointment in what may be an already tight practice schedule.
We routinely see four challenges that stand in the way of scheduling dental treatment, only exacerbated by recent concerns about inflation and hectic work schedules. These barriers include cost, time, insurance benefits, and perceived need for treatment.
Several studies have sought to understand patients’ decision-making processes and how to make it easier for them to say yes to treatment.
Dental teams should take special note of several interesting statistics that came from recent surveys:
- Just 5% of patients use all of their dental benefits annually.1
- 46% of patients surveyed found it difficult to afford dental care.2
- 64% of patients with dental insurance
don’t understand their coverage or how their annual maximum works.3
- 95% of Americans view their oral health as an important part of their well-being.4
Take steps to raise patient awareness and remove these challenges, providing your patients the opportunity for treatment:
- Run an unscheduled treatment plan report and identify the patients with pending treatment.
- Utilize an end-of-year letter that encourages them to understand and use their dental benefits that may be expiring.*
- Take a proactive approach and offer finance options.
- Promote your in-house membership plan.
- Follow up with patients you do not hear from.
Many dental benefit plans run on a calendar year and expire at the end of December. In other words, they are a “use it or lose it” plan. Flex spending accounts often work similarly, with balances lost if left unused by December 31st.
Utilize your practice management software to customize an end-of-year benefit letter specific to each patient. Identify outstanding treatment as well as remaining benefits. A “one size fits all” letter will not gain as much traction as one customized for each patient.
During these stressful times leading up to the holiday season, it is truly a gift to remind your patients that you are looking out for them by pointing out this valuable benefit.
*Customize Burkhart’s Practice Support Team “End-of-Year Benefit Letter” template provided for your practice.
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