Dentists need to be careful when they attract new patients to the practice with discounted offers. What may seem like an innocent marketing tool can cause a number of headaches if you apply the discount incorrectly or use language that is not painstaking clear.
Let’s start with a fundamental premise when are working with dental insurance. If you offer a discount, you have to apply the discount to the entire fee charged, not just to the patient’s out-of-pocket portion. For example, if you are running a special where new patients receive $50 off recommended treatment, you have to apply that $50 credit to the entire amount charged for treatment. You cannot just apply the $50 credit to what is not covered by insurance. In other words, the patient and the insurance benefit from the discount, whether you like that concept or not.
The next thing challenge you may face with discounts is defining what services are covered. For example, if you are offering a complimentary exam, x-rays, and cleaning to new patients, prepare yourself for an onslaught of questions. For example, are you covering comprehensive or emergency exams? Are you covering full-mouth x-rays or just a single PA? Finally, if a patient presents with gum disease, is your discount covering their treatment?
In the case of complimentary exams, x-rays, and cleanings, practices typically intend to cover comprehensive exams, necessary x-rays for the exam, and a cleaning in absence of gum disease. If that is the case, be sure to spell that out very clearly on your advertisement. In fact, it’s wise to review all of your potential discounted offers and troubleshoot the questions and confusion that may ensure before you post your ads.
Discounts can certainly entice new patients to try your practice. The key things to remember are to apply discounts correctly and eliminate confusion before a potential new patient contacts your practice.