Moving to private practice and not sure what to do about charging for children? Sales Support Manager, Michelle Hardy, shares a few suggestions on how to go about it.
Charging for children can be a tricky subject for some practices as most small children don’t really require much in the way of treatment. Setting charges at the right level can cause a dilemma for some people. If you are retaining part of an NHS contract, rather than returning the whole thing, then the best way of dealing with children in the practice is to make sure they are all treated under the residual NHS contract.
If, however, your practice is to become fully private, then there are several ways to charge for children.
The most common method is to have an age-banded charging system. In this case, the fee would vary according to the age of the child. Most often, practices choose age bands of 0 to 5-years, 6- to 12 and 13- to 18-years.
Infants and babies (0- to 5- years) generally would come to the practice at the same time as their parents and require little more than a quick look at the child’s mouth. Because of this, most practices usually do not charge for children of this age.
For ages 6- to 12-years, most practices will usually charge a nominal fee for the plan. As with the younger age group, these children will usually come for an appointment at the same time as the parent, so again, there is often less drain on the practice’s resources.
Things become a little trickier with setting plan fees for the teenaged group. This is because, in reality, they probably take up as much chair time as adult patients, so some consideration needs to be given to that.
Rather than basing your plan fee on the child’s age, you could always decide to charge according to clinical need. This method allows you to choose exactly what treatments and examinations you would like to include in the plan. Naturally, the lowest need would attract the smallest fee.
Setting charges depends on what practices choose to include within their plan. One option is to base the cost on examinations with a fee being charged for any treatments. Another would be to include some hygiene support with the examinations. This is something that your regional support manger can help with, as these choices will have a bearing on the plan price.
If cost has to kept to the absolute minimum, it is possible to base your plan pricing on the UDA value you would have received for children historically plus the admin fee. In summary, there are several ways of charging for children’s plans. It’s just a question of choosing the right method for your practice.
It’s worth noting that, as well as their treatment, children on a membership plan with Practice Plan will also have access to our Worldwide Dental Emergency Assistance Scheme. So, should they have an accident or suffer a dental trauma and need treatment, they may be eligible to request assistance to help towards the cost of that, which is an added benefit to any children on a plan.
If you’d like to know more about your options for children’s plans, please contact your regional support manager.