Now that the typically busy season of the new year is over, many dental practices may be content with maintaining hygiene appointments and dental check-ups. However, while your patients are filing their tax returns, you should be actively marketing your dental services to them. Let us explain why.
According to a study by JP Morgan Chase, tax refunds drive healthcare spending. Many dental insurance plans are discount plans with a high deductible, so your patients must often choose between dental care and other spending priorities. When they get their tax refund – and most taxpayers do receive refunds – the choice of how to spend their money can be easier if they know what dental services you offer, and if you decide to run any specials.
More About the Report
JP Morgan reported five main conclusions in their report from January 2018:
- Consumers increased healthcare spending by 60 percent the week after receiving a refund. They saw a pattern of elevated spending for the next 75 days.
- Debit card transactions on healthcare spending increased by 83 percent a week after consumers receive their tax refund. Electronic payments increased by more than 50 percent.
- Most people made their payments in-person.
- Dentist and doctors are the most highly visited after consumers receive their tax refund.
- The effect of increased healthcare spending was most pronounced in consumers without high checking account balances.
In fact, consumers will spend more on dental care than any other healthcare category. The average family spent $465 in out-of-pocket dental expenses in 2016, the most recent year that data was available.
You can read the full report here.
Which Dental Services Should I Market?
Now that you understand the relationship between tax refunds and the ability of your patients to increase their spending on dental and other healthcare expenses, you need to decide which dental services to market.
Based on the report and our own industry experience, we recommend focusing on cosmetic dentistry and optional, but desirable, restorative dental treatments. Depending on your expertise and staff availability, you could offer specials or temporary discounts on – or simply promote – services like teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental implants, dentures, bridges, or periodontal plastic surgery. Restorative treatments like fillings and crowns are ideal for patients who have been putting off treatment.
Go through your patient database and start with patients who you know need simple restorative treatments like fillings, etc and call them. This is a good practice any time of the year, but when patients have extra money to spend, now is the time to reach out.
In your promotions for cosmetic procedures, focus on the benefits; use patient testimonials if you have them. Consider offering incentives for treatments paid in full at time of visit. Be sure to mention these services to your routine hygiene patients now, too – making it part of the regular conversation is easy and free.
Clearly, time is of the essence when your patients receive their refunds. Some may have already received theirs, so the time to act is now. Contact our team of dental CPAs with any questions.