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Story Behind the DDS Plan

Direct Dental Savings Plan in Fort Myers & Naples, FL

Beyond Offering “Total Dental Solutions For Adults,” Patients At His Naples and Ft Myers Based Practice Enjoy Incredible Features and Benefits – And No Annual Maximums

Substantial Savings for Your Care

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For Dr. George Hoop, dentistry is more than simply his life’s passion – it’s practically a birthright. The Pompano Beach raised dentist, one of South Florida’s top practitioners with thriving practices in Naples and Fort Myers, is the fifth dentist in his family on his father’s side, starting with his “Grandpa Hoop,” who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Dental School in 1918. Grandpa Hoop, his two brothers and Dr. Hoop’s uncle all practiced in Pittsburgh. He’s proud to note that there has been a practicing dentist in the family for just under a century now.

Discovering his life’s calling about age 12, Dr. Hoop says, “My grandfather used to tell me how good it made him feel when he could have a positive impact on other people’s lives by getting them out of pain and giving them their smile back when they were missing teeth and couldn’t eat very well. He would talk about their improved and renewed confidence from their new teeth and how it benefited and helped their careers, job success, business confidence and romantic personal lives.”

Dr. Hoop, a multiple award winning graduate of Emory University School of Dentistry, has built upon his powerful family legacy by transforming the smiles and lives of patients since 1991, when he opened his first practice, specializing in periodontal dentistry in Fort Myers. Nine years later, he opened a second office in Naples to expand to comprehensive adult dentistry – a decision many told him would prove unsuccessful. The naysayers were wrong, for the simple reason, as Dr. Hoop says, “Patients like the convenience of a broader range of services and the expertise of a specialist. I was much happier going to work, too.”

Dr. Hoop’s original plan was to maintain the original practice for periodontal referrals, but as referrals from other dentists dropped, he made the dynamic decision to make both offices comprehensive practices. With both locations offering the wide range of services that patients enjoy today, his business boomed. In 2007, Dr. Hoop moved to a new expanded (doubled size from the previous) facility in Ft. Myers.

“I truly enjoy the practice of dentistry,” he says. “We are able to provide a range of services with a level of predictability and expertise that is rare and uncommon. We try to stress customer service issues and put the best interest of our patients first. I feel that I owe my clients: honest, fair and predictable treatment and thoroughly involve them in making decisions about their treatment options. I feel that many patients, especially those with major or complex treatment needs understand the convenience benefit of ‘one stop shopping’ and appreciate our approach to dental care.”

For most dentists telling their story, this would be the “happily ever after” – business is good, locations provide optimal equipment, and he and his staff provide care that sets the standards for other practitioners in the region. But driven by his desire to best serve existing and future patients in all aspects of the dental experience, Dr. Hoop developed a deeper vision for his practices.

Frustrated by the iffy state of dental insurance coverage that leaves patients with way too much out of pocket expenses because of a low, often arbitrary annual maximum benefit, Dr. Hoop developed Direct Dental Savings, a revolutionary concept in dental healthcare delivery developed with the consumer in mind. As a direct to consumer dental savings (discount) plan, it eliminates the need for a third party, the insurance company. Based on the incredible results and patient satisfaction he has seen in his own practice these past couple years, he believes it has the potential to be a significant game-changer for the dental industry.

By eliminating the “middleman,” Direct Dental Savings can provide greater potential savings than virtually any dental insurance product. Those patients who sign up not only eliminate all the confusing paperwork and red tape involved in buying and maintaining traditional insurance policies, they receive immediate financial savings and up front, accurate answers to questions about costs and coverage. Most importantly, many patients who have signed up for Dr. Hoop’s system are able to enjoy unlimited and unrestricted annual savings.

Dr. Hoop recommends this plan for people who need major or extensive dental work, including crown and bridgework, dentures, implants and cosmetic dentistry, which is never covered by insurance companies. If someone has a generally healthy mouth and requires only bi-annual cleanings and routine maintenance, he is up front about the fact that the $420 annual enrollment fee (or $37.50 per month) is probably an unnecessary investment.

Patients who sign up enjoy the fact that their spouse also receives a ten percent discount and dependent children under 25 or students receive 50 percent off. The direct benefits of the DDS plan include free regular cleanings, periodic exams, fluoride treatments, visual and state-of-the-art Velscope oral cancer exams, regular check up X-rays, 20 percent off all cosmetic, dental implant, TMJ and occlusal procedures and 30 percent off all other dental treatment and services (like fillings, crown and bridgework, dentures and partial dentures) provided by Dr. Hoop’s office. Non-tangible benefits include no annual maximum limit, no annual deductible payments, no waiting periods, no pre-existing condition exclusions, no treatment exclusions and a five year warranty on crowns.

The Direct Dental Savings Plan was designed from the ground up with the patient’s best interest in mind (not the insurance company’s). It includes everything typically recommended by dentists and the American Dental Association for absolutely ideal annual care, at no additional charge. The DDS Plan is ideal for people who need major dental care, dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, people who are retired, self-employed, do not have dental insurance, or work for or own small businesses. The DDS Plan truly offers “Unlimited Savings for Ideal Care.”

“Regular dental insurance has that awful annual maximum benefit, which might only cover $1000-$1500 of the work,” he says. “But my program has no limit. So in cases where the work I do on patients runs into the thousands or tens of thousands, it’s beneficial to save 30 percent of the cost. I had a patient in one of my offices recently whose total bill was over $57,000 and so with the DDS plan, he will end up saving more than $17,000.”

For Dr. Hoop, whose undergraduate degree from Emory was in economics, the concept for the DDS plan first came to him after launching his expanded office in Ft. Myers. Besides the fact that dentistry is/can be very expensive for many people and a lot of them can’t afford what they want or need to fix their teeth, he realized that dental insurance offers very little help when it comes to covering extensive work.

He asked himself, “If people need extensive work-really big treatment, shouldn’t I be able to work out some kind of a price break? I mean, if I purchase in bulk for just about any product in the world-I can get a price break over buying just one. If I purchase 10 cars rather than one, I am going to get a better deal. Why is dentistry different? Because of the economy of scale and time savings, I can treat one person that needs a lot of treatment in less time than many people who each need a little treatment.”

Sometimes it takes a major life and health crisis to transform an exciting concept into action. In the summer of 2008, Dr. Hoop was on vacation with his family in Breckenridge, Colorado and had a severe horseback accident. While climbing one of the ski slopes on horseback, the horse stumbled/slipped and crushed the dentist’s left leg and ruptured his left shoulder. “That was life changing,” he says. “My lower left leg was broken into five pieces and put back together with an erector set. Two surgeries and three months out of my offices followed by six months of rehab gave me time to think about many things. I decided that I want to achieve something more significant with my life and my career in dentistry. I want to do something that can impact or help more people than I can affect with just one practice.”

When he finally recovered and got back to work, the Great Recession hit. While his practice wasn’t impacted as much as so many others in the fragile U.S. economy, he observed some major changes happening in dentistry. With new budget realities, people were going to the dentist less and needed more financial help. People who lost their jobs lost the dental benefits that were part of their health coverage. Many seniors living in the retirement communities in South Florida had retirement plan benefits that disappeared during the crisis.

“During this time, people started enrolling in more dental insurance plans, thinking this was the way to save money and afford dental care when they were dealing with their newly tightened budgets. The enrollment stats increased dramatically. The dental insurance marketplace went from somewhat competitive, where insurance companies had to compete and offer realistic policies, to a high demand for their products. In a demand driven economy for dental insurance, they now had control. Since that time, insurance companies have maximized what they do best - make profit. They have raised premiums and lowered coverage consistently over the past five years, to the point where dental insurance doesn’t make much financial sense for patients to purchase.”

Dr. Hoop believes in transparency regarding the drawbacks of traditional dental insurance, and includes an eye-opening section on his Direct Dental Savings website (www.DirectDentalSavings.com), called “Dental Insurance Exposed.” In a subsection labeled “Caution! Limited Dental Benefit Plans,” he explains that the fine print of these plans contain significant limitations that patients are often not aware of until they try to use the policy. He adds “Patients are often frustrated and surprised to find that their ‘Dental insurance’ is nothing like what they expected and has ridiculously low payment schedules.”

Dr. Hoop’s initial thought was that if he could eliminate the predatory insurance company middleman and provide this product directly to patients, he could do it better and more efficiently. “Other dentists really started the idea,” he says, “but I have refined it to something much more significant. In 2012 we took Direct Dental Savings live in our office to see how patients would accept the plan. It has taken off since then. When patients take the time to understand how it works and compare it financially to their existing insurance, the DDS Plan wins every time. It offers things that insurance will never be able to.”

Hoop admits the freshness and uniqueness of the plan, and its introduction of a “new category” of dental financing, has drawn skepticism in an industry where patients are wary after feeling ripped off by insurance companies. So he offers a 30 day no risk enrollment period, allowing patients to cancel if they are not fully satisfied. Early proof of its success has emerged from Hoop’s patients, most of whom renewed their plan for a second year after enjoying a significant discount on their treatment during the first 12 months.

At the heart of everything Dr. Hoop does, including offering the DDS Plan to make his patients’ financial related fears more manageable, is the desire to make a difference that first took hold of him during his adolescence. In trying to convey just how much he loves his work and why it is still the dominant passion in his life he tells the story of a patient who had undergone a year and a half treatment plan for various major dental issues. Dr. Hoop embarked on a new orthodontic procedure called “Six Month Smiles,” which allowed him to straighten the man’s teeth in a shorter time than conventional orthodontics. He also bleached and whitened the patient’s teeth and put in two crowns with fantastic results.

“When he walked out,” Dr. Hoop recalls, “he said, ‘This is just amazing,’ and took a ‘selfie’ to send to his mother. Later he called me to say he almost had a car accident because he was busy looking at his new smile in the mirror. This is what I live for. What I do has the power to change people’s lives. When a dentist does his work for the right reasons and in a predictable manner, his results impact his patients’ confidence level, feelings of self worth and whole emotional makeup. I also love helping people get out of pain and teaching them how to go from a state of deterioration to a pathway of improvement. I like to say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we can find a way there.”

“When I’m gone,” he adds, “I want people to say more about me than, ‘He was a decent guy.’ I want them to say that I’m someone who did something different, who provided high level, comprehensive services that changed the lives of thousands of people. And who knows, if others realize the value of my Direct Dental Savings plan, I may just be the guy who changed the world of dentistry.”

12630 Whitehall Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33907 USA
George A. Hoop, DDS, PA Fort Myers, FL Dentist (239) 939-7299 office@wemakeyousmile.com
9120 Galleria Court, Suite 101, Naples, Fl 34109 USA
Dr. George A. Hoop Naples, FL Dentist (239) 594-8817 office@wemakeyousmile.com