Meet Afora: A completely different approach to dental coverage
Afora is a modern dental membership plan that costs significantly less than traditional dental insurance. In simple terms, it lowers the overall cost of dental care for everyone.
It achieves this by connecting members with a trusted network of dental professionals, all at clear and transparent rates, so these members receive high-quality coverage, for less. We spoke to Afora’s owner, Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport, to find out more about the business:
How did you come up with the idea for Afora?
I was a dentist for eight years and owned two practices in Manhattan when I realized that the traditional dental system is broken and there must be a better solution in the way we approach healthcare.
I’d heard patients telling me for years what they need and, as a practice owner, I’ve personally been victim to issues that insurance presents. For example, a patient needs immediate care and has traditional dental insurance coverage, but the maximum is too low or the waiting period means they will have to pay thousands to get treatments in times of need. This isn’t fair.
Traditional dental insurance has put up many barriers for people who need quality healthcare and Afora has a solution. With Afora, members have reasonable monthly rates, transparency, and access to a trusted network of quality providers. The dental services they need are covered with pre-negotiated, flat fees.
What was your mission from the outset?
We started Afora with the belief that everyone deserves access to quality dental care at prices they can afford – now with Afora, people no longer have to pay outrageous costs for basic preventative dental health care.
What makes Afora different from traditional dental insurers?
Afora is not insurance. We’re a prepaid platform for dental services that offers a lot more freedom for both patients and dentists.
We differ from traditional insurance companies because there are no co-payments, maximums, and deductibles for service - and there are also no waiting periods. We’ve negotiated everything for you before you even step into the dentist office, eliminating the “pain points” involved and ensuring fairness.
Has this different business model been a success?
Yes! It allows for a much simpler and cost effective solution than a traditional plan.
And what do you offer your customers?
We offer a range of plans, depending on your needs. Afora’s Basic plan is perfect for people who don’t need a lot of dental work. The Premium plan attracts people who like having extra services such as more cleanings, whitenings and so on.
Basic coverage costs $25/month and Premium coverage is $45/month. For both plans, you’ll get dental treatment including regular cleanings, an annual check-up, and X-ray, as well as access to the Afora network of dental professionals. (Being a member of The Farm also provides access to special group rates and other perks.)
What key factors would you say have led to Afora's success?
Education has been a key factor in our success - helping people understand that they can get quality care at an affordable cost. Our team of dental professionals also understands the dental industry which has allowed us to begin building the best network of dentists.
Also, the fact that Afora is built for everyone has been instrumental to its success. Whether you’re a small business, freelancer, a senior citizen, who recently retired and lost their benefits, or a family, Afora has options to cater to your specific needs. I’d say our target market is anyone who appreciates quality dental care!
What are your company's goals now, and in the future?
Having been in the field myself, I’ve seen patients struggle with navigating dental healthcare. Afora is built by dentists who believe that the current health care systems are outdated and need to change - so we’re doing it from the inside out.
We’re already in the process of expanding in our current New York markets (we already cover Manhattan and all of the Boroughs), with plans to scale our services to the whole Tri-State area by the end of 2017. We’re also actively vetting and adding new dentists to our current network.
As Afora continues to grow and expand, we hope to offer our service to Americans all over the country to make high-quality dental care an affordable option, no matter where or who you are.
Written By Gemma Church www.geditorial.com
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