Use It and Not Lose It: The Perfect Strategy to Propel Patients to Seize Their 'End of The Year Benefits'

Use It and Not Lose It: The Perfect Strategy to Propel Patients to Seize Their 'End of The Year Benefits'

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As the year rounds the corner to its finish line, a golden chance pops up for dental practices and their patients.

It’s the countdown scene—unused dental benefits are on the clock, ticking away towards expiration, and practices have the shot to amp up their revenue while helping patients get the dental care they need. But, snagging this opportunity isn’t a breeze.

It’s about racing against time, nailing the communication game, and shuffling appointments like a pro. The end-of-year stretch comes with a clear message: ‘Use it or Lose it.’ And as the calendar pages flip closer to the deadline, the stakes rise and the rewards sweeten.

Ready to dive into the hustle and come out on top?

This article is packed with solid strategies, examples, and scripts to help you navigate the end-of-year rush, all while keeping the smiles of your patients bright and shiny.

Let's get into it, first thing you need to really consider is...



The timing of notifying patients about their end-of-year benefits is crucial as it directly impacts their ability to utilize these benefits optimally. Here's a more detailed breakdown of the timing aspect:

  • Early Notification (September - October):
  • Informing patients early gives them ample time to understand their benefits, plan, and schedule their appointments. Starting in September or October is commonly advised.
  • Early notification also helps in spreading out the appointments over a few months, which can be beneficial for managing the practice’s workload and ensuring quality care.

Multiple Reminders

  • As the end of the year approaches, it's a good practice to send out multiple reminders. This could be on a monthly basis initially, transitioning to bi-weekly or even weekly reminders as December nears.
  • Multiple reminders help in catching the attention of those who might have missed earlier notifications or procrastinated in scheduling their appointments.

Initial Reminder:

Subject: Your 2023 Dental Benefits Are Waiting for You!

Dear [Patient's Name],

We hope this message finds you well. As we're navigating through the final months of 2023, we wanted to remind you to take full advantage of your dental benefits before they reset on January 1st.

Did you know unused benefits do not roll over to the next year? It's a perfect time to schedule your routine check-up, cleaning, or any other dental procedures you've been considering.

Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or click [here] to schedule your appointment online. Our team is here to help you get the most out of your benefits and keep your smile healthy!

Warm regards,

[Your Practice's Name]

Second Reminder:

Subject: Reminder: Don't Let Your Dental Benefits Expire!

Dear [Patient's Name],

As 2023 is nearing its end, we want to ensure you're maximizing your dental benefits. Remember, they don't roll over to the new year!

Whether you're due for a cleaning, check-up, or wish to discuss a treatment plan, now is a great time to schedule your appointment.

Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or schedule your visit online [here]. We're looking forward to seeing you!


[Your Practice's Name]

Final Reminder:

Subject: Last Chance to Use Your 2023 Dental Benefits!

Dear [Patient's Name],

Time is running out to use your 2023 dental benefits! Don't miss the opportunity to use what you've paid for and keep your dental health in check.

Contact us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or click [here] to book your appointment before the year ends. We have a few slots available, so hurry!

See you soon,

[Your Practice's Name]

Urgency as Year-End Approaches

  • As the end of the year nears, increasing the sense of urgency in the messaging can help prompt action. Reminding patients that they might lose their benefits if not used by year-end can be a compelling message.
  • Early Notification (September - October): Sending an initial reminder to inform patients about their remaining benefits and encouraging them to schedule appointments.

Initial Reminder (October)

Script 1: Unlock Your Dental Benefits Today!

Dear [Patient's Name],

As we step into the autumn season, it's a great time to ensure you're making the most of your dental benefits before they reset on January 1st. Schedule your appointment today to keep your smile bright and healthy!

Contact us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or schedule online [here].

Best, [Your Practice's Name]

Monthly Reminder (November): A reminder about the benefits expiry, and nudging patients to schedule their appointments.

Script 2: Subject: Reminder: Your Dental Benefits Expire Soon!

Dear [Patient's Name],

Don't let your 2023 dental benefits go to waste! Remember, they won’t roll over to the next year. Now's a great time to schedule your next appointment.

Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or book online [here].

Warm regards, [Your Practice's Name]

Bi-Weekly Reminder (Early December): Increasing the frequency of reminders as the year-end approaches to instill a sense of urgency.

Script 3: Subject: Time is Ticking: Use Your Dental Benefits!

Dear [Patient's Name],

The clock is ticking, and 2023 is wrapping up! Don't miss out on utilizing your dental benefits before they expire on December 31st.

Schedule your appointment now by calling us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or booking online [here].

See you soon, [Your Practice's Name]

Weekly Reminder (Mid to Late December): A final push with a strong sense of urgency as the end of the year is nearing.

Script 4: Subject: Last Chance: Your Dental Benefits Expire in Days!

Dear [Patient's Name],

It’s the final countdown! Your 2023 dental benefits are expiring in just a few days. Secure your appointment now to make the most out of your benefits.

Call us immediately at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or book your spot online [here].

Hurry, slots are filling up fast!

Warm wishes, [Your Practice's Phone Number]

Customized Timing Based on Patient Behavior

  • Understanding the behavior and response patterns of your patient base can also guide the timing of these notifications. For instance, if a significant portion of your patients tend to schedule appointments at the last minute, earlier and more frequent reminders might be necessary.

Here’s a detailed explanation with a realistic example:

Understanding Patient Behavior

  • Data Collection and Analysis:
  • Collect data on when patients typically schedule appointments, their response rate to previous reminders, and their preferred method of communication (email, text, phone call).
  • Analyze this data to identify patterns, such as the time of day or week they are most responsive, or how far in advance they typically schedule appointments.

Example Scenario:

Let’s assume a pediatric dental practice has three segments of patients based on their historical behavior:

  • Early Schedulers: Patients who typically schedule appointments well in advance.
  • Procrastinators: Patients who tend to wait until the last minute to schedule.
  • Responsive to Reminders: Patients who respond promptly to reminder communications.

Customized Timing Strategies

Early Schedulers:

  • August - September: Send an initial reminder about the end-of-year benefits, encouraging them to schedule their appointments before the rush.


  • October - November: Start sending reminders with a sense of urgency, highlighting the limited availability as the year-end approaches.

Responsive to Reminders:

  • September - October: Send a friendly reminder about their remaining benefits and offer easy online booking options.

Implementing The Strategy

  • Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to segment the patient base according to the identified behaviors.
  • Schedule the reminders to go out to each segment based on the timeline that aligns with their behavior.

Evaluating and Adjusting

  • Monitor the response rates and appointment bookings from each segment.
  • Adjust the timing or messaging of reminders if necessary, to improve engagement and response rates.

By recognizing and adapting to the different behaviors of patient segments, the practice can communicate more effectively, making the reminder process more efficient and personalized. Over time, this tailored approach can lead to better utilization of dental benefits by patients, and possibly a smoother appointment scheduling process for the practice.

Appointment Availability Communication

  • It’s also essential to communicate about the availability of appointment slots during this period. Patients should have a clear understanding of the practice’s availability to accommodate their appointments before the year ends.

Subject: Secure Your Spot: Limited Year-End Appointment Availability!

Dear [Patient's Name],

As the year swiftly approaches its close, we are reaching out to remind you to utilize your remaining 2023 dental benefits. Our goal is to help you maintain a healthy smile while making the most out of your insurance coverage.

Our schedule is filling up quickly as many families are booking their year-end appointments. We currently have limited availability on select dates in December.

Don’t miss this opportunity:

  • Schedule your dental check-up, cleaning, or any other necessary treatments.
  • Utilize your dental benefits before they expire on December 31, 2023.

To secure your preferred date and time, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as soon as possible:

  • Call us directly at [Your Practice's Phone Number].
  • Or book your appointment online [here].

We cherish the trust you place in us for your dental care needs and look forward to seeing you and your family soon.

Thank you for being a valued member of [Your Practice's Name] family. Your healthier, happier smile is our priority!

Warmest regards,

[Your Name] [Your Title] [Your Practice's Name] [Your Contact Information]

Monitoring and Adjusting

  • Monitoring the response to these notifications and being flexible in adjusting the timing and frequency based on the feedback and the appointment booking rate can be beneficial.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations:
  • Ensure that all communications follow legal and ethical guidelines. Any urgency in the messaging should be balanced with accurate and clear information.

Timing the communication strategically ensures that patients are well-informed and have sufficient time to act, while also managing the workload of the practice in an organized manner. By planning the timing of these communications thoughtfully, pediatric dental practices can help ensure a smoother transition towards the year-end and potentially improve patient satisfaction and retention.

Methods of Communication

Methods of Communication

Communicating end-of-year benefits effectively requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some detailed methods of communication along with scripts for Social Media:

Multi-Channel Communication:

  • Utilizing various channels like emails, text messages, phone calls, social media, and postal mail ensures reaching a broader audience.
  • Diversifying communication methods allows you to cater to the preferences of different demographics within your patient base.

Social Media:

  • Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for engaging with patients and informing them about their benefits.

Here are a couple examples for a Social Media Posts:

  • The Countdown Post:
    🎉 The countdown to 2024 is on! But, are your smiles ready to ring in the new year? Don't let your 2023 dental benefits fade away with the year. Schedule your appointment now and start 2024 with a sparkling smile! ✨ Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or book online [here]. #NewYearNewSmile #UseItOrLoseIt
  • Content Type: Image
  • Details: A visually appealing image showcasing a calendar with a countdown to the new year, interspersed with images of happy patients or staff, and dental icons. Your practice's contact information and a call to action like "Book Now" should be visible.

  • The FOMO Post:
    😱 Fear of missing out on your dental benefits? The year-end is zooming by, and so is the chance to use your 2023 dental benefits! Don’t miss out; book your appointment now. Call [Your Practice's Phone Number] or click [here]. Hurry, our schedule is filling up fast! #DontMissOut #DentalBenefits
  • Content Type: Video/Reel
  • Details: A short, engaging video or reel showing a fast-forwarded clock, transitioning to smiling faces after a dental visit, and ending with a reminder of the benefits expiry on December 31st. Engaging music and text overlays explaining the importance of utilizing dental benefits can enhance the message.

  • The Urgency Post:
    🕰️ Time is ticking, and your 2023 dental benefits are on the line! Did you know they don’t roll over to 2024? Secure your spot now before it's too late. Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or schedule online [here]. #TimeIsTicking #DentalCheckup
  • Content Type: Image
  • Details: A striking image of a clock or hourglass alongside dental tools or imagery, with bold text stating "Time is Ticking! Use Your Dental Benefits Now." Include your practice's phone number and website for easy appointment scheduling.

  • The Wellness Post:
    🌿 Wellness isn't just a trend; it's a lifestyle. And a healthy smile is a big part of it! Your 2023 dental benefits are here to support your wellness journey. Book your appointment before the year ends. Call [Your Practice's Phone Number] or click [here]. #WellnessJourney #DentalWellness
  • Content Type: Carousel Images or Video
  • Details: A carousel of images or a video showcasing before-and-after dental treatment results, intertwined with wellness imagery like yoga, healthy foods, and happy families. Captions should explain how dental health contributes to overall wellness and urge the utilization of dental benefits.

  • The Friendly Reminder Post:
    📆 Friendly Reminder: Your 2023 dental benefits are waving goodbye! Say hello to a healthier smile by using your benefits before they expire. Schedule your appointment by calling us at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or booking online [here]. Let’s make the most of 2023 together! #FriendlyReminder #HealthySmile
  • Content Type: Animated Graphic or Video
  • Details: An animated graphic or video with friendly reminders popping up on a calendar, highlighting the expiry of dental benefits. Include visuals of dental treatments, happy patients, and your practice's staff, with contact information for booking appointments.

For all posts:

  • Ensure branding consistency by using your practice's color scheme, logo, and a friendly, professional tone.
  • Include clear calls to action, urging viewers to schedule their appointments.
  • Use hashtags related to dental health, dental benefits, and end-of-year reminders to increase visibility.
  • Consider geotagging your practice's location to attract local clientele.
  • Monitoring engagement and adjusting content based on what resonates with your audience can be beneficial for future posts.
  • Encourage engagement by asking questions or sharing polls on social media regarding dental care, which can segue into reminders about end-of-year benefits.

Each content type has its unique way of engaging the audience, so a mix of these can cater to varied preferences and keep your social media pages lively and informative.

Personalized Communication

  • Personalizing messages by including the patient's name or specific remaining benefits can create a more direct connection and prompt action.
  • You could use automated systems or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help with personalization on a large scale or most likely your Practice Management Software is capable of doing this.

Educational Approach

Educational Approach

Some patients may not fully understand their dental benefits. Providing clear explanations about what benefits they have left and how they might lose them if not used by year-end can be beneficial.

You can explain the benefits through these mediums:

Informational Videos:

Create short, engaging videos explaining dental insurance terms, benefits utilization, and common dental procedures. These videos can be shared on your practice’s website, social media channels, and even in the waiting room.

For instance, a video explaining how dental cleanings are covered by insurance and why they are essential can be very informative.

Blog Posts:

Regular blog posts on topics like understanding dental insurance, tips for oral hygiene, and the importance of regular check-ups can be a valuable resource for patients.

Blogs can also cover seasonal topics, like reminding patients to use their dental benefits before year-end or dental care tips for the holidays.

FAQ Section on Website:

Create a comprehensive FAQ section on your website that answers common questions regarding dental insurance, the treatments covered, and the importance of utilizing benefits before the end of the year.

Personalized Consultations:

Offer personalized consultations where you discuss the patient's dental health, recommended treatments, and how they can utilize their benefits to cover these treatments.

This personal touch can help clear any confusion and encourage patients to schedule their appointments.

Provide Examples:

Offering examples of services they might need or want, and how those could be covered by their remaining benefits, can also be helpful.

Appointment Availability

Appointment Availability

When it comes to end-of-year benefits, appointment availability can become a critical concern for both dental practices and patients. As patients rush to utilize their remaining dental benefits before they expire, appointment slots can fill up quickly, potentially leading to an influx of scheduling requests. Here are some detailed aspects regarding appointment availability in this context:

Communicating Availability:

  • It's vital to communicate your practice's appointment availability to patients well in advance. This can be done through email reminders, social media posts, text messages, or phone calls.

Online Scheduling:

  • Offer online scheduling through your website or a patient portal, allowing patients to see available slots and book appointments at their convenience.

Extended Hours:

  • Consider extending office hours during the last few months of the year to accommodate more patients. This could include opening on weekends or extending weekday hours.

Staff Preparation:

  • Ensure that your staff is well-prepared for the increased demand. This might include hiring temporary staff or ensuring that existing staff can manage the increased workload.

Efficient Scheduling:

  • Utilize efficient scheduling practices to maximize appointment availability. This could include minimizing the time between appointments while ensuring enough time to provide quality care.

Cancellation and Waitlist Management:

  • Have a clear cancellation policy and a well-managed waitlist. If a patient cancels, fill the slot with a patient from the waitlist who's keen on utilizing their end-of-year benefits.

Below are examples of scripts for communicating a cancellation policy and managing a waitlist:

Cancellation Policy Script:

Subject: Important Update: [Your Practice's Name] Appointment Cancellation Policy

Dear [Patient's Name],

At [Your Practice's Name], we strive to provide all our patients with timely and convenient appointment slots. To ensure fairness and availability, we have a 48-hour cancellation policy.

Cancellation Policy Details:

  • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please inform us at least 48 hours in advance to avoid a cancellation fee of $[fee amount].
  • Cancellations can be made by phone at [Your Practice's Phone Number] or via our online portal [here].

We understand that emergencies happen, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. This policy helps us maintain a well-organized schedule and ensure availability for all our patients. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Thank you for choosing [Your Practice's Name] for your dental care needs.

Warm regards,

[Your Name][Your Title][Your Practice's Name][Your Contact Information]

Well-Managed Waitlist Script:

Scenario: A patient calls to schedule an appointment but the preferred date is fully booked.

Receptionist: Thank you for calling [Your Practice's Name], this is [Receptionist's Name] speaking. I see that the date you prefer is fully booked. However, we have a waitlist in case there are any cancellations. Would you like me to add you to the waitlist?

Patient: Yes, please.

Receptionist: Great! I've added you to our waitlist for [preferred date]. We will contact you immediately if an appointment slot becomes available. In the meantime, we have availability on [alternative date]. Would you like to schedule an appointment for that date as a backup?

Patient: Sure, that works.

Receptionist: Fantastic! I've scheduled you for [alternative date]. If an earlier slot opens up, we'll give you a call. Thank you for your flexibility, and we look forward to seeing you at [Your Practice's Name]. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

In the cancellation policy script, the practice lays out the terms clearly, providing patients with the information needed to avoid any unexpected fees while understanding the importance of early cancellation or rescheduling.

In the waitlist management scenario, the receptionist effectively communicates the process, offers an alternative, and ensures that the patient is comfortable with the arrangements. This approach helps to keep the schedule organized while also catering to the patient's preferences to the best of the practice’s ability.

Reminders and Confirmations:

  • Send appointment reminders and confirmations to minimize no-shows and last-minute cancellations. Automated text or email reminders can be helpful. Above (in this article) are scripts and examples you can use.

Clear Information on Benefits Utilization:

  • Provide clear information to patients on how they can utilize their remaining benefits and the importance of scheduling appointments before year-end.

Although there's many examples and scripts in this article already on what to say and how to do this, here's another one:

Subject: Maximize Your Dental Benefits Before Year-End at [Your Practice's Name]

Dear [Patient's Name],

As we approach the end of the year, we want to remind you to make the most of your dental insurance benefits. Many insurance plans reset on January 1st, and unused benefits do not roll over.

Here's a quick look at how your benefits might cover common dental services:

  • Preventive Care: Most plans cover 100% of the cost for preventive visits, including cleanings and check-ups.
  • Basic Procedures: Coverage for procedures like fillings or extractions can range from 70% to 80%.
  • Major Procedures: For major procedures like crowns or root canals, coverage may range from 50% to 70%.

Take action now to maximize your benefits:

  1. Schedule Your Appointment: If you haven't had your second cleaning of the year or if there are treatments you've been postponing, now is the time to schedule an appointment.
  2. Plan Ahead: If you have upcoming dental needs, let's discuss a treatment plan that makes the most of your remaining benefits.
  3. Check Your Coverage: Review your insurance coverage or contact your insurance provider to understand your remaining benefits.

Booking is easy:

  • Call us at [Your Practice's Phone Number]
  • Or schedule online [here]

Our team at [Your Practice's Name] is here to help you achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Don’t let your dental benefits go to waste. Schedule your appointment today!

Warmest regards,

[Your Name][Your Title][Your Practice's Name][Your Contact Information]

Prioritizing Treatments:

  • Prioritize treatments based on urgency and the patient’s insurance coverage. Patients with pressing dental issues and ample insurance benefits left should be prioritized.

Promoting Off-Peak Appointment Slots:

  • Promote availability during off-peak hours to spread out appointments and cater to patients with flexible schedules.

Here's an example and script on how you can do this:


Suppose your dental practice is located in a bustling area and usually has a busy schedule during regular hours. However, the early morning slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM are typically quieter and less booked.

You decide to promote these off-peak hours as "Quiet Morning Appointments" and offer a complimentary teeth whitening treatment as a special incentive. The idea is to provide a calm, unhurried, and personalized dental care experience to patients during these hours.

You draft a heartwarming email, as provided in the script below, to send out to your patient list. Additionally, you create a social media post to reach a broader audience. The post includes beautiful images of a calm morning setting in your dental office, happy and welcoming staff, and the exceptional results of a teeth whitening treatment. The caption warmly invites patients to experience the peaceful ambiance of early morning appointments while enjoying a special complimentary offer.

By doing this, you not only fill up the less popular appointment slots but also create a unique and delightful experience for your patients, reinforcing their trust and satisfaction with your practice.

Email Script:

Subject: Your Invitation to Enjoy Quiet Morning Appointments at [Your Practice's Name]!

Dear [Patient's Name],

We hope this message finds you well. At [Your Practice's Name], we cherish every opportunity to provide you with exceptional dental care in a comfortable and serene setting. With that in mind, we are delighted to extend an invitation for you to enjoy our quiet morning appointments.

Discover the Calmness of Mornings: Our early hours on [specific days, e.g., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM] provide a peaceful ambiance for your dental care. It’s a wonderful time to have a one-on-one, unhurried visit with your dental care team.

A Little Gift for You: As a token of our appreciation for your trust in us, we're offering a complimentary [offer, e.g., teeth whitening treatment] when you schedule your appointment during these tranquil morning hours.

Booking Your Morning Visit is Easy:

  • Simply give us a call at [Your Practice's Phone Number]
  • Or schedule your visit online [here]

We look forward to sharing the calmness and freshness of morning hours with you, providing personalized care that leaves you with a bright smile to start the day.

Warmest regards,

[Your Name][Your Title][Your Practice's Name][Your Contact Information]

Social Media Post:

Caption: Experience the serenity of early mornings at [Your Practice's Name]. Enjoy a calm, personalized visit with our wonderful team on [specific days, e.g., Tuesdays and Thursdays] from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. As a token of our appreciation, we're offering a complimentary [offer, e.g., teeth whitening treatment] with your morning appointment. Book now and start your day with a bright smile! 🌅☎️ [Your Practice's Phone Number] or 🖱️ [link to online scheduling]


  • Images of a peaceful, sunlit dental office with happy dental staff ready to welcome patients.
  • Before and after images of a teeth whitening treatment.
  • A graphic showing the special offer, the serene morning hours, and a call to action to schedule now.

This approach ensures a warm invitation to patients while promoting the off-peak appointment slots in a positive and appealing manner.

Real-Time Updates:

  • Offer real-time updates on appointment availability through your website or a dedicated app, allowing patients to check and book available slots easily.


Utilizing end-of-year dental benefits is a win-win scenario for both dental practices and patients. For practices, it's an opportunity to increase revenue, fill appointment slots, and provide necessary care to patients. For patients, it's a chance to get the most out of their insurance benefits while attending to their dental health needs. The strategies discussed encompass a blend of effective communication, appointment management, educational outreach, and data-driven decision-making. These elements are geared towards promoting benefits utilization, enhancing patient engagement, and optimizing operational efficiency.

Key takeaways include:

  1. Early and Consistent Communication: Informing patients about their unused benefits well ahead of time, using multiple channels like emails, social media, and phone calls.
  2. Educational Approach: Educating patients about the importance of dental care and how they can maximize their insurance benefits.
  3. Appointment Management: Utilizing off-peak hours, managing cancellations, and waitlists efficiently to accommodate as many patients as possible.
  4. Promotions and Incentives: Offering special incentives for off-peak appointments or to those who book their treatments before year-end.

A well-rounded, proactive, and patient-centered approach can significantly contribute to a successful end-of-year rush, ensuring patients don't miss out on their benefits while aiding practices in ending the year on a high note. Through thoughtful planning, clear communication, and a keen understanding of patients' needs and behaviors, dental practices can navigate this busy period effectively, fostering a positive patient experience and setting a strong foundation for the year ahead.

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