What are Dental Membership Plans?
For patients who do not have dental insurance or are unhappy with their dental coverage, a private membership plan allows them to enjoy discounted services while still continuing to see their favorite dentist.
How do Dental Membership Plans Work?
A dental membership plan is a private in-house program offered by dental practices. It is an independent program where participating patients receive discounted services or covered therapies (such as checkups and cleanings) without the need for processing insurance claims. Membership has an annual fee or monthly subscription amount, depending on your preferences when you enroll.
Essentially, dental membership plans pass the savings on to the patient directly, rather than negotiating fees with a contracted insurance company.
Advantages of Dental Membership Plans
- No annual maximum allowables (the total amount an insurance company will pay out each year.)
- No waiting periods.
- No insurance claims to file.
- Simple, straightforward fees.
- Included checkups, cleaning, and X-rays.
- Fixed discounts on ALL additional treatments, including cosmetic dentistry.
How is it Different Than Dental Insurance?
Traditional dental insurance typically covers two checkups per year and up to an average of $1,500 in dental benefits for restorative work (fillings, crowns, root canals, etc.) Unfortunately, over the last 40 years, these “maximum allowable” amounts haven’t increased with the cost of living, leaving many people feeling frustrated about their lack of coverage when treatments are needed. When treatment is required, there may be a waiting period, or the benefits could run out before the entire procedure is completed.
Dental membership plans include all basic checkups, X-rays, and even a yearly emergency exam. However, instead of limiting the type of dental treatment that is covered, a flat discount is applied to all dental work the patient requires. Including cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, dental implants, and more. There are no limitations on what is covered or the total savings applied to your care.
How Do Dental Membership Plans Work?
Enrolling in a dental membership plan is quite simple. Keep in mind that you will sign up directly through your dentist’s office rather than a third party like an insurance carrier or discount dental program. It is truly a private membership available through your preferred dentist’s practice.
Individuals or families can choose to enroll at an annual fee or pay a low monthly membership amount to participate in the program. There is usually a separate membership tier for individuals with a history of periodontal (gum) disease, as these patients require specialized or more frequent dental cleanings. Once someone is enrolled in the membership plan, they can immediately begin seeing the dentist for care.
Is a Membership Plan Better Than Dental Insurance?
One of the most frustrating things about using dental insurance to cover your oral health services is that amounts are estimated, and the carrier can reject claims (refusing to pay for the service) unless all specifics of your plan are met. This can be extremely upsetting both to dental patients as well as their oral health providers because the insurance carrier often dictates the care available to the patient. In reality, it should be the patient’s choice based on their dentist’s recommendations.
If you require multiple phases of dental care or exceed your annual allowable, you are left paying for the remaining portion out of your pocket. Or worse, you have to delay the care altogether until the next year. By that point, conditions often become more complex and expensive to treat. Early intervention is less invasive to the tooth as well as more affordable. Unfortunately, dental insurance is extremely limited, so patients are often left picking and choosing which services meet their priorities.
By enrolling in a private dental membership plan, patients can schedule any treatment they need, whenever they need it. There is no third party dictating whether or not a service is covered or by how much. Members receive an immediate discount on any therapy, whether it’s medically necessary (fillings) or elective (teeth whitening.)
Understanding Dental Membership Plan Coverage
With dental insurance, much of your treatment is “estimated” based on the specifics your carrier provides to your dentist’s office. Unfortunately, this can lead to unexpected, surprise bills in the mail even if you rightly assume that something is covered.
That never happens with a dental membership plan. Once you enroll, you receive 100% coverage on your preventative care visits—that is, your six-month cleanings, exams, and any necessary X-rays—after that, a flat discount applies to anything outside of preventative care. If that discount is 10%, that means 10% off anything else, whether it’s a dental implant, CEREC crown, extraction, dental veneers, etc.
After your dentist curates your treatment plan, the discount is added to the fee
breakdown. Since there are no insurance claims to file, you know exactly how much the procedure(s) will cost and the reduced price you are responsible for covering. This eliminates any confusion, frustration, or misconceptions about what your treatment costs will be. And best of all, there are no limits. If your insurance maxed out after one dental implant, your dental membership plan will not.
Learn more about our Dental Membership Plan
If you’re considering the switch from a traditional dental insurance policy to a private dental membership plan, contact Grove City Center for Dentistry to learn more about the process.