The start of 2022 continues to be a disruptive time for health care in general and dental services in particular. More than 12 million Americans lost access to their insurance plans during the past year. The number of gig workers, freelancers, and “cash-paying” patients soared, and this called for rethinking how people attain affordable dental care. Also, nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries lack dental coverage, creating a demographic that critically needs access to dental care opportunities.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, telemedicine services evolved out of necessity. Following suit, many patients engaged with their health-care providers via digital and mobile means. This was a change from them previously interacting, transacting, and processing their appointments, communications, and payments only through their insurance plans.
How are needs being met?
In response to the market shift, new offerings such as subscription and membership plans are rising to support the evolving elements of dental service organizations (DSOs) and their consumers. Membership plans offer solutions and online marketplaces, including the recently launched membersy Marketplace, that make these plans accessible to more people.
The new marketplace developed by membersy—which describes itself as a digital health company with the goal to democratize access to quality dental care through subscription-based dentistry—is offering what it touts to be the industry’s first direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace for licensed dental membership plans. The new online exchange enables individuals and families across the United States to shop, compare, and purchase membersy-powered membership plans provided by local dentists.
“After the difficult health-care experience brought on by the pandemic, and people’s uncertainty for their own health and economic challenges to accessing much needed care, millions of American consumers deserve a better path to gain the care they need, starting with their dentist,” explains Sean Hurley, the chief growth advisor at membersy.
Membership plans are an alternative payment methodology for the dental sector, creating direct relationships between DSO-supported dental practices and individuals and families in the communities they serve.
For consumers, the benefits are multifaceted. Membership plans can help increase access to price transparency, members-only discounts and perks, and once-unaffordable access to some of the best dentists in the country. Consumers, especially young generations, are looking for a connected and personalized experience that they can maintain digitally. Custom membership plans allow DSOs to cater to these shifting patient preferences.
Employer-sponsored health plans will remain popular for some people to access dental care. But as dental and health-care services further expand and evolve how they reach patients, DSOs can access additional consumers and build their practices by expanding payment possibilities with membership plans powered by recurring subscription billing as a great new option in 2022.