Switching dental plan patients from one provider to another is about to become a whole lot simpler and automated, without the hassle of patients having to sign a new direct debit instruction, explains Patient Plan Direct.
Before now, switching plan provider usually meant writing to patients to ask them to complete a new direct debit instruction. However, thanks to new rules introduced by the organisation that manages the direct debit scheme (Bacs) and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), plan providers will soon have to utilise the ‘bulk change process’ if a practice wishes to switch plan provider.
The bulk change process allows for plan patients’ direct debits to be transferred automatically from one provider to another, making life simpler and more convenient for everyone involved (see flow diagram).
The changes have been driven by the PSR – its objectives include the promotion of fair competition amongst organisations processing payments.
In late 2017, the PSR investigated the operations of organisations processing third party direct debits, which, of course, includes plan providers in the dental industry. The PSR recognises that, in some instances, such organisations were not utilising the bulk change process at the request of their client, eg a dental practice.
Subsequently, from January 2018, a new accreditation scheme was rolled out, requiring all organisations processing third party direct debits to agree to utilise the bulk change process, should the organisation for which they are processing direct debits wish to switch to an alternative provider.
Patient Plan Direct is proud to announce it is the first plan provider to obtain accreditation under Bacs’ new rules.
Simon Reynolds, commercial director at Patient Plan Direct, comments: ‘We have been crying out and lobbying for such a change for many years. The bulk change process is ideally suited for scenarios such as a dental practice wishing to switch the administration of its plan from one provider to another, without the hassle or inconvenience of patients having to sign a new direct debit instruction.’
Simon goes on to explain: ‘It’s important to understand that the bulk change process has always been available as a facility under the direct debit scheme. However, before now, other major plan providers in the market have not agreed to utilise the bulk change process as a proposed transfer method.
‘Under Bacs’ new rules they will now have to do so, creating a competitively fair market and affording practices the freedom of choice when it comes to deciding which provider to work with, without being put off by a previously cumbersome switching process.
‘We are currently working closely with the PSR and Bacs to ensure all other dental plan providers are identified as organisations falling under these new rules, therefore undertaking the required accreditation process as quickly as possible.
‘Naturally, as a plan provider offering significantly lower administration fees versus other plan providers, Patient Plan Direct has already generated significant interest from practices interested in switching from their current provider via the bulk change process to cut costs significantly via this simple process.
‘We encourage practices interested in switching to register their interest at: www.patientplandirect.com/simpleswitch.’