Are 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?