As the cost of health care continues to rise, and the number of cash-paying patients continues to increase, the consumer is looking for new ways to save money on their healthcare.
There have been numerous studies and articles about the correlation between oral health and overall health. Many employee benefit plans are already incorporating dental into their programs for earlier detection and prevention of chronic diseases to reduce the high costs that healthcare brings. Creating plans that incorporate medical and dental care help bridge the gap between oral health and overall health.
Elite Dental Partners, a dental support organization with 200+ dentists in over 100 practices across thirteen states, employing more than 1,000 staff members, recognized the need for an in-house dental discount plan to help many cash-paying patients to more easily afford their dental treatment.
The DSO sought the help of Careington, an industry leader in discount health programs offering specialized administration services.
Careington successfully helped Elite Dental Partners design, develop and implement a custom membership program for patients that offers savings on dental care, vision and prescriptions. The in-house dental discount plan, which includes a telemedicine solution, is called: Elite Dental Wellness Plan.
The new Elite Dental Wellness Plan includes a telemedicine service through DialCare, a Careington-affiliated company. Through DialCare, members have access to free consults with a state-licensed doctor by phone or video chat 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for medical treatment for common illnesses like colds, flu and rashes. When medically appropriate, a DialCare doctor may prescribe a short term, non-DEA controlled medication for the member to pick up at the pharmacy of their choice.
Telemedicine, currently a fast-growing trend and highly requested service, is a perfect solution because it offers patients what they want: convenience. Telemedicine also adds additional value to existing membership bases which are already concerned with savings.
“With this great new program developed for us by Careington, our patients can save money on their dental and vision care, as well as prescriptions. Our patients also receive access to a telemedicine program to speak or video chat with doctors 24/7 for non-emergency medical issues and concerns,” said Dr. Scott Kalniz, CEO & CDO of Elite Dental Partners. “With health care costs continually on the rise, we believe this new program will offer tremendous value to our patients. We are very happy with our new in-house program and are confident our patients will enjoy the savings.”
Patients can get treatment through a licensed doctor conveniently by phone or video chat. They simply consult with a doctor and when medically necessary, pick up their prescription at a pharmacy. Best of all, they don’t have to delay the treatment they need to feel better.
Customers can use telemedicine as a first line of treatment option for many situations. Numerous customers are seeking ways to avoid unnecessary ER or Urgent Care visits, which telemedicine helps reduce. By having treatment options and a non-DEA controlled prescription written, when deemed appropriate, customers are avoiding wasting valuable time in a waiting room and are able to have a doctor visit on their schedule from the convenience of their home or anywhere on the go.
“With in-house dental membership programs gaining traction within the industry, we are very excited to incorporate DialCare telemedicine, another trend-setting product that truly makes this program unique. This is our first DSO partner to offer an in-house dental program that includes a telemedicine component,” said Lauren Kelly, Director of Strategic Markets at Careington.
Dental is at the core of this program, as the plan was designed to bring value and affordability to patients seeking quality dental care, increasing loyalty to the practice and treatment acceptance. Patients that sign up for the plan receive two free preventive cleanings and fluoride treatments, free exams and X-rays and 20% off all other services performed at participating Elite Dental Wellness Plan locations. There is even a perk for periodontal patients, allowing them to receive the first and third periodontic maintenance cleanings for free.
The vision discount provides savings on eyewear and eye care at thousands of in-network vision care providers nationwide. The discount can be used on a complete pair of glasses or contact lenses.
The prescription discount provides savings on generic and name brand prescriptions that can be used at thousands of pharmacies nationwide.
Members are able to use the same Elite Dental Wellness Plan ID card on dental, vision and prescriptions, making it easy to save and use the program.
Experience shows that bundling products like vision and prescription discounts immediately boosts the overall actual and perceived value of the plan. Providing an expanded program beyond just dental adds value for the member, which helps to improve patient loyalty. Plus, each time the member uses their ID card, whether for dental, vision or prescription savings, they will see the program name – helping to boost brand recognition of the program.
In addition to the many advantages the member receives from their dental, vision and prescription savings, Elite Dental Wellness Plan uniquely introduces telemedicine to bring even more value to the membership plan.