Switching dental plan provider: a practice manager’s experience

Switching dental plan provider: a practice manager's experience

Patient Plan Direct shares the experience of Heather Power, practice manager at Ibbott & Co Dental Practice, in making a successful switch of plan provider.

Heather has been the practice manager at Ibbott & Co Dental Practice for almost four years. Overseeing a team of 15 across the three-surgery practice, she constantly seeks the best solutions to streamline operations and enhance patient care.

Read about Heather’s experience of switching from their previous plan provider to Patient Plan Direct (PPD):

‘Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, our principal dentist was keen to switch dental plan provider. Dissatisfaction with our provider at the time stemmed from the high administration fees and pressure to commit to a long-term contract in exchange for potential fee reductions. This approach didn’t sit well with all of us.

‘The decision to switch had been on the table for years but concerns about potential issues (such as laborious admin for the team and patient drop-off) meant this was on hold. However, we were told about a new means of switching – the bulk transfer process. This is when a seamless transfer of all plan patient direct debit details to another plan provider happens ultimately in the background without any hassle. This eradicated our concerns, so the principal decided it was the right time to proceed.

‘Another practice owner recommended PPD to us, so we arranged a meeting. After meeting Janice, the head of business development at PPD, we were sold! She really impressed us with her knowledge and experience, and she clarified what PPD could offer to Ibbott & Co:

  • Cost savings: With the decrease in admin fees versus the well-known provider we were using at the time, we could pass savings onto patients. Sticking with our current arrangements would have necessitated a 10% fee increase
  • Value for money: PPD offered better value in our opinion, especially when factoring in the Global Dental Accident & Emergency Scheme’s coverage for patients compared to  the alternative insurance cover that had been in place
  • No ‘unnecessary’ added value: Our previous providers’ fees seemed to consistently increase year-on-year. We appreciate they offered other elements of support outside of plan management, but the reality is we didn’t utilise such service or support. For instance, they incorporated elements of compliance support, but we were happy with the specialist compliance company we’d used for years.’

Let simple switch commence!

‘The switch from our previous provider to PPD was remarkably straightforward. Janice advised that we undertake background work on patient data, ensuring all details are up to date before the switch commences. This ensured a seamless transition.

‘Patient notification letters were sent, emphasising that no action was required from them but just advising them on a change of the direct debit reference and an alternative global A&E cover. For any patient queries we received following this communication, the practice team were equipped with a script provided by PPD during our training sessions. However, most patients didn’t contact the practice at all!

Time for training

‘The training from PPD was thorough and comfortable, conducted in layman’s terms, ensuring everyone understood the process. PPD’s online portal is user-friendly, so it is very easy to pick up during training and thereafter.

Extra support – the client services team

‘The client services team at PPD provided excellent support throughout the switch process, which was particularly beneficial for our staff members who aren’t as tech-savvy, so not at ease with the change of technology regarding the online portal. The contrast with our previous providers support was stark; PPD’s service was helpful, supportive, and personal.

One year on, post switching dental plan provider

‘A year after the switch, the practice saw a 12% increase in plan income with only a minimal cost increase to patients during our annual fee review. This contributed massively towards the annual plan revenue target, which was exceeded.

‘The PPD client services team and our business development manager have maintained regular contact. They have been helpful and clear and are just a phone call away. We never have to wait long for someone to come back to us to answer a plan, patient, or portal query.

Heather’s advice to others considering a switch?

‘It’s not as scary as you might think. Ensure your patient data is in order and up to date to guarantee a seamless process, but you can put your trust in PPD—you’re in good hands with them.’

Switching practice plan provider

With minimal effort, your practice can enjoy the benefits of a cost-effective and responsive dental plan provider without causing any inconvenience to your patients. So explore a simple switch; we’re here to make switching plan provider easy and add value to your practice.

For more information, visit patientplandirect.com/switch-plan-provider.

This article is sponsored by Patient Plan Direct.

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