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Can your patients choose DR?

CDBP recommends dentists find out

Council on Dental Benefit Programs members at the National Dental Benefits Conference discussed marketing strategies that might enable more patients to reap the advantages of dental reimbursement for their dental care. One idea considered was to directly include dentists in marketing efforts.

"DR stands for what the ADA stands for," said Dr. James Hight, a CDBP member and chair of the Dental Benefit Information Service subcommittee. "That means freedom in dentistry and a valuable doctor/patient relationship."

Although many new types of direct reimbursement plans were discussed at the NDBC—"These are not your old-fashioned DR plans," said Dr. Hight—all still share three primary elements:

  • self-funded by the employer;
  • allow freedom to choose any dentist;
  • reimburse patients based on dollars spent on dental treatment, not based on the type of treatment received.

"We wouldn't ask dentists to sell plans," Dr. Hight explained. "But patients in benefit decision-making positions should know about DR—especially now, with such high costs for other employee benefit plans. Dentists may be patients' best sources for that information."

The council will collect contact information for interested patients as potential referrals for the Consumer Directed Benefit Association, an association of brokers who sell DR with a long-standing relationship with the ADA.

"Referred leads from dentists to their patients and friends result in successful marketing," said John Stoner, a CDBA member. "That's because the person being referred has a trusted relationship with the dentist, which helps us to get an appointment to inform that patient about DR." CDBA is particularly interested in employer groups of 50 or more employees.

Interested dentists can contact the ADA toll-free, and ask for the Council on Dental Benefit Programs. For more information about direct reimbursement or to order DR marketing materials go to www.ada.org/goto/DRplan.