Many patients’ dental insurance benefits are on a calendar year basis, with a use-it-or-lose-it policy. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, less than three percent of people with PPO dental insurance used their dental plan’s maximum benefit. Therefore, the end of the year tends to be busier as these patients scramble to get dental procedures done while they can still maximize their benefits.
You can promote certain common year-end services now to ensure patients can take advantage of them – and to help you and your staff plan for time off around the holidays.
Most insurance plans cover preventive visits at 100 percent, and these are great starting points for a longer conversation about dental services. This includes cleanings, x-rays, and other routine care. Start by looking at your patients who missed their six-month checkup this summer, and remind them to schedule an appointment before December 31.
Crowns and Bridges
According to Dental Economics, December through February are the most popular months for crown and bridge work. Send letters or emails to your patients who may have open treatment plans, reminding them of the deadline in insurance benefits. Then, set aside time on your schedule toward the end of the year for any last-minute openings. Schedule the patients now, even if they’re waiting until the new year to begin treatment.
One approach for multi-visit or expensive procedures is to schedule the treatment for December and January. This way, you can help your patient take advantage of dental benefits over a two-year benefit term.
Usually, cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening, aren’t covered by most insurances. That doesn’t mean you don’t promote it, though! Mention this and other cosmetic procedures as add-ons or considerations for the next year, when insurance benefits reset.
Wisdom Teeth and Tooth Extraction
Many patients, especially students, wait until the holiday break to schedule tooth extraction so they have extra time to recover.
The seasonality for orthodontic treatment tends to follow the school year, as most patients are students. December and January are popular months to begin new orthodontic treatments.
Tips for Promotions
Create a Sense of Urgency
Remind your patients that spots fill up quickly. When it comes to marketing, you can motivate your patients to act by reminding them there are only so many appointments before year-end. If they delay, they might miss out on the chance to use their full dental benefits for the year. You can also remind them that delaying dental treatment can be costly and more expensive in the long run.
Offer Special Discounts
Procedures like root canals and crowns are expensive, even with insurance. Encourage your patients to book these appointments by offering a limited time discount on certain services. For example, $100 off crowns, or 10% off teeth whitening treatment.
For Next Year
You may also want to tell your patients that you can help them estimate the cost of future dental care. This is useful for patients who have the option of Flex Spending Accounts for healthcare, and need to determine how much money to set aside at the beginning of the year.
Remember to allocate some time to emergency visits, as they tend to increase around the holidays. The end of the year tends to be busy for all of us; however, you can help make your dental practice a little less stressed by filling in your schedule for November and December now.