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An April 2nd article in Federal News Network announced that federal employees will now retain their health insurance benefits, including dental insurance where applicable, during any future government shutdowns.

“The new policy implements certain provisions of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which instructed OPM to make certain federal health and life insurance services ‘essential’ under the Antideficiency Act,” according to the article.

Clearly, this development won’t impact all dentists equally, but if your market has any significant number of federal employees you should no longer see as many cancellations and reschedules as you did during prior government shutdowns.

An Idea For The Rest Of Your Patients

If 2020 proved anything, it’s that closures, layoffs, and furloughs can impact any industry with little or no warning. When that happens in your area – a major employer closes a location, for instance – you stand to lose a lot of patients unless you’ve taken out an “insurance” policy.

One idea that is gaining momentum is to create your own in-house dental membership program for your new and existing patients. Being able to budget dental expenses – anticipated and unanticipated – is often a boon for lower-income families. But the idea is attractive to higher-income people as well depending on their particular circumstances.

Clearly, this is not an option to implement without a great deal of planning and sound legal and financial advice. You’ll need to do extensive analysis about utilization patterns of specific services for at least the last three years; a longer baseline is likely better. You’ll also need to find your “break even” point in terms of membership; too many departures can sink a plan. And, you’ll need to allow for increases in materials and labor costs to ensure that your subscription price will allow for enough profit.

There are many other considerations to take into account before creating your plan, so be sure to get that legal and financial advice well in advance.

An on-house dental membership program may not be for you, but it does come with one additional benefit: the insurance companies won’t be pushing you around nearly as much.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

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