Dentists’ Greatest Fear – Raising Fees (video)

Dental feesMost dentists have been avoiding fee increases, this survey found, even though regular fee increases are a basic principle of effective dental management.

But in a recession, dentists fear they’ll alienate patients if they raise dental fees.

“Same fees, more dental marketing…” said one orthodontist.

Read more: Dentists and Dental Practices May Have To Raise Fees

Dental Practice Management Survey: Dental Fee Increases Depend on Local Economies

Raising dental feesThis dental practice management survey asked dentists how often they raise their fees.

There’s a mixture of good and bad news, depending on local economic health.

Most dentists have raised their fees in the past 2 years.

Close to a third (30%) of the dentists we surveyed said they raise fees every year.

Almost a quarter (24%) answered that they’ve increased fees during the past 2 years, but not in the past year.

At the other extreme, 5%  have lowered their fees during the past year. Said a Washington Dentist in this group, “One of our insurance providers froze our fees and lowered our reimbursement by 15%.”

The rest of the responses were split — 14% said they haven’t raised fees in over 2 years; 19% said it’s been more than 3 years, and 8% said it’s been more than 5 years since they’ve had an increase.

Although dental consultants strongly advise yearly increases, many dentists practice in locations where the local economy just won’t support increases due to high unemployment or other regional factors.

“I have a shrinking profit margin. Many of my patients have reduced or no income due to the recession and hurricane Sandy. If I raise my fees I believe fewer patients will accept treatment.” Dentist in the northeast

“I used to raise my fees every 1 to 2 years without fail. But with the economy as it has been the last few years, it has been tough to do.” Illinois Dentist

“With the economy as it is and the number of people out of work, I find it hard to raise my fees. People just cannot afford good dental care. They put off any dental work until an emergency arises.” New York Dentist

“I fell off the wagon during the recession of 07/08, but I’m back on track with yearly adjustments.” South Carolina Dentist

When was the last time you raised your dental fees?

Dental Survey: Dentists Still Cautious About Raising Fees

Dentists are cautious about raising feesAs small business owners, dentists know that it’s good dental management to raise fees on a regular basis…if their market supports it.

“It makes sense to raise your fees by at least the local or regional cost of living increase (inflation %) to keep up with that. Around here it is currently about 3% per year.” Ohio prosthodontist

In this survey, we asked dentists how long its been since they raised their fees.

In some regions, the economy is rallying enough that dentists have been able to increase rates.

Within the past year, 27% of the dentists in our survey have raised their fees; and 13% have done so within the past 6 months.

“I am considering it as the economy looks more hopeful and because prices are going up all over…and I have to pay my own bills.” Texas dentist

However, 60% of our dentists have not increased fees within the past 2 years…or longer:

It’s been more than 3 years since 40% of our dentists raised their fees.

“Still pretty shy about raising fees as often as we used to, due to the weak economy and patients struggling fnancially.” Illinois dentist

And 20% of our responding doctors haven’t raised their fees in more than 5 years.

“Just can’t pull the trigger since the recession killed us.” New York dentist

“With the insurance companies basically setting the fees, raising fees too often only hurts the patients who do not have insurance.” Missouri dentist

How is your local economy doing? When was the last time you raised your dental fees?

Raising Dental Fees (Survey Video)

Dental management: Raising dental feesAs a normal part of running a small business, dentists have to deal with increasing costs of materials, lab fees, payroll and other dental practice management expenses.

Basic business economics says that as your costs rise, so should your fees. But that’s not necessarily been the case for many dentists.

Jim and Julie discuss some of the realities surrounding whether or not dentists have raised their fees:

“Raising my fees just puts an onerous burden on my uninsured patients, and does not raise revenues on the majority of procedures. Rather, it just increases the amount I have to write off,” complained a Michigan Dentist. “I’m getting closer to dropping participation with all ‘managed cost’ programs.”

“I know I need to raise my fees, but people are constantly complaining of cost,” says a Georgia Dentist who hasn’t raised fees in over two years.

“I feel dental offices should always raise fees to reflect the current annual rate of inflation. We keep our fees in line with local and regional averages and adjust ours annually to keep up with inflation,” said an Ohio Prosthodontist.

If you’d like to share your opinions in future surveys, just sign up for our weekly dental marketing and management newsletter at TheWealthyDentist.com.

How long has it been since you’ve raised your fees?

Dental Survey Reveals Dentists Hesitant To Raise Fees

Dental Survey Reveals Dentists Hesitant To Raise FeesAre dentists raising their treatment fees to keep ahead of the rising dental practice management costs?  A new The Wealthy Dentist survey aimed to find out.

The survey asked dentists when was the last time they raised their treatment fees.  One California dentist responded, “Expenses seem to keep going up. So must fees.”

In fact, many dentists have decided not to run small private practices due to rising costs and administrative hassles, but instead choose to join larger dental management groups so they can spend less time dealing with the administrative side of a dental practice and spend more time treating their dental patients.

Here’s how the dentists responded:

  • 9% raised their fees 5 years ago.
  • 20% raised their fees 3 years ago.
  • 20% raised their fees 2 years ago.
  • 35% raised their fees 1 year ago.
  • 16% raised their fees 6 months ago.

The reason many dentists don’t like to raise fees is the fear that they will lose patients. Combine this fear with the fact that most Americans don’t budget for dental care and you find a lot of dentists who need to raise their fees but won’t.

Here’s what the dentists in this survey told us:

“We are still waiting for the economy to stabilize. Too many of our patients are still unemployed or without insurance coverage. I also discount my fees more than ever before.” (Texas dentist)

“I know I need to raise them but people are constantly complaining of cost. Treatment acceptance is down. Maybe it my own fault but I worry that revenue will decrease further if I do it.” (Georgia dentist)

“It’s tough to raise fees in such a depressed economy.” (Illinois dentist)

“That’s a hard one. Our cash clients are watching prices closely.” (Nevada dentist)

“We only raised a few selected fees and decreased the amount of discounts.” (California dentist)

“I am stuck with fees for insurance plans, therefore unable to raise fees easily.” (New york dentist)

“Managed care destroys fee increases.” (Virginia oral surgeon)

“I know I should be doing it more often.” (Tennessee dentist)

“Inflation from gas and food prices is on the way, so the time to raise fees is now.” (New York endodontist)

“I do not raise fees often enough!” (North Dakota dentist)

“What is the point, if dental insurance dictates reimbursement?” (Missouri dentist)

“Fees need to be reviewed annually. Not necessarily raised but reviewed.” (General dentist)

“We do it annually right before staff reviews.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“They will probably be raised next year, but I will wait until after Presidential election. If Obama wins fees will have to go up…” (General dentist)

It’s important for dentists to take a look at their fee structure annually and make adjustments accordingly — even during a tough economy. What are your thoughts, dentists?

When was the last time you raised your fees and what impact did it have on your dental practice?

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