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Dentists offering alternative membership plans for uninsured patients

Dentists have begun offering membership plans to help uninsured patients receive care, Kaiser Health News reported Sept. 17.

The plans have reportedly led to patients making more frequent visits and provide dentists a more convenient option to avoid low reimbursement rates and preapproval processes. For most plans, patients pay $300-$400 per year for free or discounted services.

Wayne, Penn.-based Kleer, founded in 2018, provides dental membership plan software to practices. It has reportedly helped more than 5,000 offices establish their own plans. Dave Monahan, the company's CEO, said more dentists have opted for the plans during the COVID-19 pandemic because they were faced with higher costs and saw more patients without coverage.

David White, DDS, who has offices in Reno and Elko, Nev., has offered a membership plan since 2019. The plan offers three monthly pricing options, each including a set of benefits. Members can also receive a 20 percent discount on procedures such as fillings and extractions.

Winter Garden (Fla.) Smiles has enrolled more than 370 patients in its membership plan, many of whom are self-employed or work for small businesses. Members pay an annual fee in exchange for a set of services including cleanings, exams and X-rays. Patients are also offered a discount on other office procedures.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's analysis of the CDC's 2019 National Health Interview Survey found that 1 in 4 people delayed or went without dental care because they lacked dental coverage.

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