Dental Co-op in Purdy’s cuts Costs for the Uninsured
Every six months as you sit uninsured in the dentist's chair and calculate the sting of a $200 cleaning, you can only hope that the pain deadening gel seeps into your cerebral and alleviates the uncertainty of having the examination reveal something that sets you back even more. But if living in the moment is unavoidable, Dr. Michelle Verhave of Purdy’s offers a competitive alternative that can take quite a bite out of both the actual cost and the anxiety without the high price of purchasing individual dental insurance.
“It’s not insurance, it’s more like a club,” she says from her office at 5 Main Street.
So, an individual can start the year paying their annual fee up front and receive a 50% discount on all services throughout the year. “It actually pays for itself with the first cleaning,” says Dr. Verhave.
Hoping members come in and drop $105 at the half price savings for their second cleaning, bringing the rest of the family into the club doesn’t progress at the exponential pace that the rest of healthcare costs typically do. “It’s $110 for the family membership,” she says.
No way to lose, she had long noticed that her older clients would often lose their benefits upon retirement, and as a result, go on to ignore their oral health by foregoing care. “It’s a very reasonable alternative to losing your teeth,” she points out.
A younger demographic in a similar spot had also gotten her attention over the years. “I started having children that were approaching that age where they were losing benefits under their parent’s insurance,” she says.
Just starting three months ago, she says the dotted lines are being filled as semiannual cleanings come due. “They’re signing up as we go along,” she says.
Claiming 5% of her non-insured patients have joined, the shortfall received on fees will hopefully make up for itself in increased volume. At the same time, she’s spreading the dental health wealth by bringing more professionals into the fold. “Dr. (Anthony) Cuomo in Carmel is part of the group, and I’m looking for a few other doctors and specialists to join,” she says.
In turn, the possibilities for an even greater expansion is a direct function of all those who are left with a gap when it comes to dental insurance. “I’m hoping it grows astronomically,” she says, and keeps the drilling down to the bare minimum – giving every insured person in the area a chance to join, she adds in conclusion.
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