Taking Control With Kleer
More and more practices and patients are embracing membership plans
The dental membership plan revolution shows no signs of slowing; in fact, it is accelerating. This summer, Kleer had more than 2,500 dentists using its platform just 18 months after its launch, and the adoption rate continues to increase. Kleer gives patients access to affordable, comprehensive care that offers a budget-friendly alternative to paying costly out-of-pocket treatment fees and, at the same time, puts dentists back in control.
"Dentists are realizing that membership plans are no longer just an option; they are a must to counteract insurance and take back control," says Dave Monahan, Kleer's chief executive officer. "A third-party insurance provider should not be the one to dictate treatment protocols, pricing, and the timing of treatment. Those decisions belong with the dentist and the patient. Dentists are trained to practice oral medicine, and patients, with the right information, can make treatment decisions with the help of their dentists. Kleer makes this possible. That is really important to our mission."
Monahan attributes Kleer's rapid success to its extensive market research prior to launching. The company spoke to both dentists and patients before creating its platform. "We built a robust, reliable, and very well-supported solution that gives both dentists and patients what they need," he says.
The typical practice that successfully employs Kleer is business-oriented, forward-thinking, and aggressive in its quest to grow and help patients afford their care. Oftentimes, it is a practice that has contemplated or even tried to create its own membership plan in the past and found it too difficult to manage.
"Dentists are frustrated by how long they have been manipulated by dental insurers," Monahan says. "With reimbursements and benefits trending downward every year, a breaking point is inevitable, and we feel that breaking point is here. Dentists are finding that they cannot operate a successful and profitable business from insurance renumeration alone, so they need alternatives, and Kleer membership plans provide an excellent alternative."
Many Kleer patients dislike the uncertainty of cash payments and the complicated nature of insurance. In market research, many used the phrase "They're going to ‘get' me," in reference to insurance companies. However, these same patients value oral healthcare and its benefits to their overall health and self-confidence.
"What's amazing is the level of emotion that patients tie to the dental care plan," Monahan says. "From a tactical standpoint, it is easy to sign up from a smartphone in less than a minute, it is affordable, the benefits start immediately, and there are no hidden terms or paperwork. However, from an emotional perspective, many of these patients realize that their oral health is not the best and that joining the plan represents a positive step forward in their lives."
It does not appear that Kleer's momentum will be slowing down any time soon as the company approaches its third year in operation. It recently signed a 5-year lease for an office that is nearly 4 times the size of its current space, and Monahan expects the number of employees to double from 30 to 60 by next year.
"It is time for dentists to have a stronger voice in the marketplace," Monahan says. "An incumbent provider of care plans once told me that one of their biggest fears is that dentists will decide to stop taking insurance en masse. Because if that happens, the game is over for the insurance companies. It is a simple concept. We want to help dentists have a stronger voice while providing patients with better access to care. Kleer is moving the needle in that direction, and I couldn't be more excited."
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