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Episode 121: A Possible ‘Plan B’ (but you won’t need it!)

February 04, 2021
In today’s episode, Gary discusses a possible Plan B and why it is comforting to have one even though you won’t need it!
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Dentists by nature, are planners. Your Plan A is to progress towards becoming insurance free. But it is comforting to know that you have a Plan B in place because you may have thoughts of Plan A going sideways. If you really think about it, having a Plan B relieves the fear of “What If?’s” and you can now focus on Plan A and work towards achieving your goal of becoming less insurance dependent with your team without conveying the doubts you may have about the Plan A. Hence, in this episode, Gary explains how you can put a Plan B in place even though you won’t need it!  

  • Intro to today’s topic > 01:07
  • Masterclass to become PPO-free! > 01:30
  • Plan B > 07:07
  • The white flag of surrender > 10:01
  • Psychological safety net > 11:54

Resources

Naren: This is the less insurance dependence podcast show with my good friend Gary Takas and myself Naren Arulrajah.

Gary: We appreciate your listenership your time and most of all we appreciate your intention to reduce insurance dependence in your practice. Our goal is to provide information that will help you successfully reduce insurance dependence and convert your practice into a thriving and profitable dental practice that provides you with personal professional and financial satisfaction

Gary: Welcome to another episode of the less insurance dependent podcast. I’m Gary takas your podcast co-host. We have a cool topic for you today and the topic today is called a possible plan B and if you’ll notice in the headline in parentheses we have after that but you won’t need it. This will all make sense as we go through this episode today. So, it’s all about a possible plan b but you’re likely not to need it. Hey before we get to that though I have an announcement to make coming up very shortly within a couple of weeks after publishing this episode, we have a master class available and it’s called the master class is six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans. This is a three-hour workshop it is on February 17 from 7 to 10 pm eastern time. So, go ahead and do that time zone translation where you are but that is 7 to 10 p.m. eastern and it’s three hours. You’ll get three hours of CE we are strictly limiting attendance to that master class to 20 attendees because we’ll be running it more like a workshop than a lecture. I would encourage you to attend obviously if you listen to the less insurance dependence podcast, you are interested in resigning from PPO plans and we decided to put together this master class with tons of details. Pretty much everything you need to know about how to successfully resign from PPO plans. Come join us on February 17th 7 to 10 p.m eastern very affordable tuition, you will get three hours of CE credits and again you’re going to see if you go to thrivingdentist.com forward slash master class there’s all the information about that master class and you will see a counter on that page that lists how many seats are still available. I would encourage you to take action soon if there are seats available jump on it if not, we’ll have a waiting list and we’ll consider whether we might do another one in the future but as of now this is the only one, we have scheduled for 2021. Hope to see you inside that master class. Well, let’s go ahead and dive into today’s topic a possible plan B and I want to kind of set it up here. dentists by nature are planners, are planners. They tend to plan things out your education is maybe something that kind of encourages that planning mindset and I know that in many situations it’s useful to think about a what-if scenario. Like what if this doesn’t work what would I do and that’s often referred to as a plan B if plan a is to resign from PPO plans plan b is what do I do if it doesn’t work and so I wanted to go into detail with you about a plan b just so that you can have it on your hip pocket. Now you saw in the parentheses in the title you’re not going to need it, you’re not going to need it. It’s kind of like a just in case back up parachute hey Naren, maybe that’s a good way to think of it we’re about to jump out of a plane you’ve got your regular parachute all packed but then you’ve got a backup just in case that main parachute doesn’t open does that make you more willing to jump out of a plane, Naren?

Naren: absolutely I can give you even a more relevant example that applies to me so we live in a place where there is a lot of underground water. so we have some pumps that keep sucking the water and pumping we have three sump pumps in three different locations somebody told me there’s some kind of a stream running, kind of close to our house like

Gary: It’s like an aquifer that’s underground 

Naren: exactly 

Gary: and eventually flowing into Lake Ontario I’m sure

Naren: yeah, yeah, like literally a mile from Lake Ontario. So, I guess it’s everything flows towards Lake Ontario less than a mile maybe even a few hundred meters so what we do have is we have three main sump pumps and the water also has these I don’t know like some kind of sediment so it’s very colored like I don’t know some kind of 

Gary: mineral 

Naren: Mineral water which kind of means our sump pump can go bad so we do have a backup pump and we have some kind of a sensor that starts beeping, the minute something happens so we have like a backup for a backup because we don’t want to redo our basement 


Gary: And that’s good planning I mean 

Naren: yeah 

Gary: Because it’s you just want to know if something would go sideways, what do we do

Naren: some people have power like a power generation right like so that in case they lose power and 

Gary: their grid goes down they have those down

Naren: exactly

Gary: You bet well and so I think it’s useful for all of our listeners, first of all, I want all of our listeners to continue on their progress with plan A remember what’s plan a to successfully resign from PPO plans 

Naren: Right

Gary: But I want you to have a plan A beat in place I have friends that are avid they really enjoy parachuting and they enjoy jumping out of airplanes and I have friends that have quite literally thousands of jumps under their belt thousands and I’ve asked them just out of curiosity have you ever had to use your backup shoot and every single time the answer has been no Gary but it’s comforting to know that it’s there and that’s how I really want you to look at this. You’re not going to need it but it’s comforting for you to know that you do have a plan B if something goes sideways with you going out of network and let me with no further ado drum roll please let me explain what that plan B is ready? Ready? Ready? 

Naren: Yes, yes.

Gary: Here’s plan B. If it doesn’t work you can always sign back up for the PPO plans. Now you might be sitting there thinking well duh, but I want you to really think about this because this came into play for Paul and me as we’re looking at resigning from plans in 2007 and 2008. Some of you will know the story but I’ll do a quick recap when we started resigning from plans the economy was really good in Arizona it was going very well midway through we hit a brick wall when the economy went upside down and it’s now referred to as the great recession, the great recession. Well we had successfully resigned from many PPO plans but we still had many to go and all of a sudden things changed radically Naren, I mean literally like overnight to where prior to the economy going upside down we were a solo dentist at the time Doctor Paul was booked out for five weeks solid hygiene was booked out six months solid and we were comfortable and all of a sudden the economy goes upside down and Paul’s got openings later this week in his schedule and hygiene looks like swiss cheese

Naren: Right

Gary: And Naren it was I’m not embarrassed to say that it was terrifying and we called an emergency meeting between the partners that was Paul and he called an emergency meeting and said now what I said Paul I don’t know we’ve never been never experienced anything like this in my at that point I think I’ve been 27 28 years as a coach and I had been through some downturns but nothing like what was now known as the great recession of 08 09 I said I don’t know Paul but let’s step back and look at it how’s it work so far and his answer was really well I mean I’m amazed at how many patients were keeping it’s worked really well but now Gary the whole economy is upside down I don’t know if it’s going to continue to work and Naren I don’t know why I remembered this but I remembered a quote that has been attributed to Winston Churchill and I always appreciate Winston Churchill’s leadership in world war II for England and his quote goes something like this. When you’re going through hell just keep going and I shared that with Paul and he looked at me and he then asked me a rhetorical question. It was a rhetorical question because he already knew the answer but he said now Gary if it doesn’t work, we can always just sign back up with the plans can’t we.

Naren: Yeah 

Gary: and i said absolutely Paul now we wouldn’t want to do that that’s like figuratively flying the white flag the surrender flag you certainly wouldn’t want to do that but I said yeah that’s our backup plan we can always sign back up and we’ll just be right back where we were and it’s interesting because it relieved the fear of what if this doesn’t work, it’s like it’s literally like having the backup shoot the backup parachute, it’s okay you’re right we do have a backup and we just kept ploughing ahead and the rest is history we made it made it through the other side we never had to initiate plan B but I do like sharing the plan b with our clients as we coach them to go out of network now you’ve got to be careful with this that doesn’t mean that you should be sloppy with your preparation that doesn’t mean that you should skip some of the readiness steps so I mean that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a good job of packing your main chute right there can you imagine the parachute oh I got a backup it doesn’t matter, no they should pack that main chute with the serious intent that it deserves and so same thing here. You should make all of your preparation with the seriousness with intention with completion and absolutely have everything in place so don’t be sloppy don’t be casual does. Does that make sense Naren?

Naren: totally absolutely Gary it makes total sense the way I look at it is it’s just it’s like a psychological safety net 

Gary: Yeah, it’s a safety net

Naren: so, to speak so second having done this for so many years with your coaching clients everybody who follows the steps who prepare properly like 98 99 percent chance of things working out and I know you have said in a few cases you’ve told them you’re not ready yet. So don’t do it now let’s get ready right so as long as they’re being methodical about this there’s no way this is going to fail because at the end of the day you don’t need to write off almost half of what you make and somehow survive in it you can do better so anyway so that’s the good news but still knowing that these insurance companies are so eager to have you back and they will take you in a dime, it’s good and it’s not just one company there are many, many, many, many, companies 

Gary: so, they will be thrilled to have you back 

Naren: Yeah 

Gary: in fact, I think in their mind it would be like well you learned your lesson come on back, now remember when I said I’ve I have lots of friends that enjoy parachuting and I’ve asked that question skydiving I’ve asked that question have you ever had to use a pair a backup shoot and every time the answer is but no Gary but I sure like knowing it’s there. Same thing here Naren I’m going to report first hand in all of our coaching work with clients all over the country in every practice locational environment imaginable urban-suburban large town medium-sized towns small town remote in every single case as of right now as of the time of this recording they have never needed to initiate their plan b has never that’s never been needed now I’m not saying it might not come up sometime in the future that I may not be able to say that in the future but as of right now no one has ever needed to use that but just like the skydiver that says I’ve never had to use my backup but I appreciate that it’s there I think this plan B will be something that you’ll appreciate. Now leadership wise you do need to be careful with this doctor Naren in terms of creating the culture the intentional culture of we are going to succeed with this in the practice at the very practice level, where does that mindset come from 100 percent of the time where does the mindset come from? 

Naren: The top leader the owner dentist 

Gary: so how would it be if the owner dentist says hey guys, we’re going to try this crazy thing it’s crazy we’re going to try it and we can always just sign back up 

Naren: yeah 

Gary: how would that work 

Naren: it’s not going to work

Gary: It’s going to create I think you’ll get a parrot reaction from your team members, like a resignation of saying well we’ll kind of do a half-baked effort at it to show that it’s not going to work, and then we’ll quickly go to plan b.

Naren: yeah, so this should be something that you keep in your back pocket but you don’t believe it you don’t act on it. You just know the worst case you have this choice 

Gary: you have this choice and really, it’s something I think to be held close to your vest

Naren: Yeah

Gary: because lots of discussion about it lots of planning around it will only create thoughts of failure and remember what is the universe, they are likely your team members most familiar with? 

Naren: it’s an insurance independent yeah 

Gary: Right

Naren: Staying in-network Yeah

Gary: yeah, I will share something really cool that might be in place with a number of our listeners. This is fresh this has happened the last couple of weeks is with a new client on the coaching side where we’re just starting the process of getting all of our readiness in place and we had a zoom team meeting with doctor the entire team and I’m getting to know the office manager. I’m getting to know her in very, very, sharp, sharp, lady lots of experience and I honestly didn’t know what her answer to my question was going to be and I asked her the question I won’t use her names I didn’t even ask permission to publish this but I used her name and I said how do you feel about us in your office going down this path of reducing insurance and she said Gary I can’t wait we are going to be amazingly successful we give our patients so many reasons to come here and she said plus you don’t know this Gary but in a previous, in another state, I worked for a practice that we did this with and we had massive success with it and I can’t wait to do it here. So, they had relocated to this state because her husband had gotten a job transfer and so I didn’t know that background history with her but you should have seen I’m looking at this on zoom and I’m seeing everyone, everyone’s facial expression on zoom. It was almost like everyone got a jolt of optimism and a jolt of can-do attitude around this when she said that and coming from an office manager that’s highly respected in the practice that was very powerful and it’s interesting to see. So, so, the point that I want to make here is doctors, you have to be careful about how you transmit information to your team about your plan B because it can have the reverse effect. It can give them a sense of well this isn’t going to work but now we’ll have to go to plan B but I do want you to know you have a plan B in place and plan B is just to sign back you just be where you were and that should be reassuring to you as you go through this process 

Naren: thank you very much Gary I think this is an awesome topic and I think, as a lot of doctors especially at the beginning of the year are looking forward to the rest of 2021 and what they want their life to look like what they want their team’s life to look like what they want their patience life to look like, knowing that there is a backup plan I think can really help a lot of people just take the plunge because we know when you prepare right and I know the master class that we’re going to be doing shortly is kind of a great way to get ready for that. So, we have six steps that you need to go through to start resigning from the PPO plan master class it’s on the 17th of February it is three hours only 20 seats period. It’s sold out it’s done it’s finished and this master class is going to be done virtually. You get three hours of CE 7 p.m. Eastern to 10 p.m. Eastern I really think it’s a great, great, great, first step for many people who are even thinking about it or remotely thinking about it, and for now we don’t have any other date for this master class to be repeated in 2021. So, this might be the only time you can get it. So, if you haven’t signed up, we’ll put a link sign up there are less than two weeks to go, and hope to see you then

Gary: Naren, I’ll close with a supportive thought for our listeners and it’s something that gives me much pride and much enjoyment to hear from our clients. When we go back and debrief as a coach when I debrief the exercise that we go through when we go out of network and we get through the other side and now we’re seeing all the benefits of not giving away 42 to 44 percent to the PPO plans and I asked the doctor how do you feel about this almost every time they say the same thing and what they say is some variation of this, Gary the only regret that I have is that I didn’t do it sooner 

Naren: yeah 

Gary: I didn’t do it sooner and that was even emphasized in our episode 100 if you haven’t listened, if you’re a new listener to less insurance depends go back and listen to episode number 100 and that was an interview with our client who successfully went out of network and Tracy Hughes is her name, she’s in Colorado and Tracy says unsolicited she said Gary the only regret that I have is I didn’t do it sooner. Well with that in mind thank you for being a regular listener to the less insurance dependence podcast we appreciate you and we look forward to joining you on the next episode.


Gary Takacs

Gary Takacs Gary Takacs is a well-known presence in dental practice consulting. He brings deep knowledge of the individual elements of business success together with genuine compassion for the dilemma of the dentist in today’s insurance-driven culture. As host of the Less Insurance Dependence podcast series, Gary guides dental professionals to a healthier practice style that lets them deliver a hallmark-level quality of care.

You may recognize Gary’s dynamic style from his speaking engagements at a variety of symposiums and continuing education classes, or as host of the popular Thriving Dentist podcast show. As a dental practice coach, Gary’s insight is available on a one-on-one basis or through seminars, audio, and video programs.

As co-owner of a dental practice, Gary has the first-hand experience in making the transformation from high-volume/low fee insurance dependency to a fee for service model. His lively discussions run the gamut from eye-opening lessons in cost accounting to communication that shows consumers what they have to gain from a patient-centric practice.

A published author, progressive rock fan, biker, businessman, and family man – Gary Takacs always has a unique perspective to share.

Learn more about Gary’s coaching: www.thrivingdentist.com/coaching/
Connect with Gary Takacs on Linkedin

Naren Arulrajah

Naren Arulrajah Naren Arulrajah is a self-described "serial entrepreneur," enthusiastic about serving others. For more than ten years he has helped dentists, doctors, lawyers, coaches, consultants, and other professionals find practice success with personal fulfillment.

As founder and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, Naren has brought together a talented team of global experts in all areas of digital marketing. Ekwa’s International client base currently numbers about 200, at all stages of practice from start-ups to growth, transitioning to new leadership, and merger and acquisition.

Naren is always focused on giving back much value to the dental and medical community that has been instrumental in his success.

With a philosophy, in personal and professional life, of surrounding himself with others as passionate about success as he is, Naren fosters a philanthropic environment of sharing.

Naren is a consultant, speaker, author, and above all an inspirational innovator. AceTech Ontario honored Naren’s accomplishments with their 2014 Leadership Initiative Award.

Learn more about Ekwa: www.ekwa.com

Recent Episodes

Episode 130: Talking Points Versus Scripts
Episode 129: What Percentage of Patients will I lose when I drop PPO Plans?
Episode 128: The Important Role of Practice Champions in Reducing Insurance Dependance
Episode 127: The Role of Confidence in Successfully Dropping PPO Plans