Dental Practices Increasing Fees Patient Conversations
Dental practices increasing fees is often an annual event. As the practice owner evaluates yearly inflation, an adjustment happens. That is true in all areas of our lives. We spend more at the supermarket, the gas pumps, and the hair salons. Typically, dental practices increase fees on the first of January each new year.
How long do we honor previous fees quoted to a patient? That depends on how far out the dentist’s schedule books. If the schedule allows for an appointment within a 30-day period, then stick with 30 days. If, however, the schedule books out 60 days, then make this a 60-day quote.
Transparency is Everything
Inform patients of upcoming fee increases. Try a simple statement such as, “Dr. Brown does evaluate inflation costs at the end of each year. But he does honor this quoted estimate for you for the next 30 (or 60 days).” – pause – “Would you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?”
We want to keep the conversation casual as well as factual. Avoid the drama here. If the patient asks if the cost changes at that point, a simple, “It could” is enough. Although we want to be transparent, the less we say, the better.
Dental Practices Increasing Fees Patient Questions
Patients may ask questions in the new year following a price increase. “Has the price gone up?” “Is that more than last year?” Our uninsured patients are most aware of any change. However, I am often surprised at who balks and who doesn’t. It’s nice to take the time to review the details with patients.
A quick look back at the same procedure and fees is helpful. Let the patient know what the exam fee was at their previous appointment. And compare that fee to what they are charged right now. Or whatever fee they question. And again, explain that the doctor makes any inflation adjustments at the end of each year.
Dental Practices Increasing Fees Acceptance
It’s just a fact of life. It has always been and will be. Prices and the cost of living increase. And although dentistry is a necessity, people make choices. During high times of inflation, patients may opt for an extraction rather than a root canal. Or may postpone treatment in hopes of securing the money.