Listed below are some questions and answers about membership in the Minnesota Dental Association. We hope this information demonstrates why 77 percent of dentists in Minnesota belong to organized dentistry.
If you have other questions, please call the MDA membership staff at (612) 767-8400 or (800) 950-3368 toll-free in Minnesota.
Why should I join the Minnesota Dental Association?
There are numerous benefits and services available from all three levels of organized dentistry (the ADA, the MDA, and your local district dental society). However, there are five overarching and compelling reasons why every dentist should join.
What will MDA membership do for me?
There are many kinds of benefits and services offered by the MDA and the other levels of organized dentistry - the annual Star of the North Meeting; publications such as JADA, the MDA News, the ADA News, Northwest Dentistry, and district newsletters; the MDA and ADA web sites; educational programs for continuing education credits; public information and public relations programs; government relations and lobbying; individual practice management assistance; marketplace issues; information regarding matters affecting the practice of dentistry; professional peer review; availability of dependable and affordable malpractice insurance, guaranteed-issue health insurance, and other insurance programs; and a variety of other member services. National, state and local levels of the association offer benefits and services in these and other areas.
It is important to recognize that our association has a tripartite structure. This structure enables the MDA to speak with a unified voice on the national, state and local levels. Members of the MDA automatically belong to all three levels. Promoting one of these levels enhances the efforts of the other two.
How do I apply?
Simply fill out the Application and a membership kit and dues statement will be mailed to you. You can also call (800) 950-3368, ext. 103 for assistance or for more information.
Am I joining the MDA only?
Membership is tripartite. That means you join the MDA, ADA and your local dental society. The MDA dues invoice includes membership at all three levels. The unity of tripartite membership produces a more effective dental profession. Integration lessens duplication of activities and allows each society to concentrate on providing those services it performs best and most efficiently.
How much is membership?
Current dues for an ADA membership are $512. MDA current dues are $795. Local dental society dues vary from $45 to $240.
Is it worth the money to join?
Absolutely! Participation in endorsed programs and services (health insurance, life insurance, liability insurance, etc.) can provide the members with significant savings. Many members are able to recoup a good deal of their dues dollars through the savings they receive by simply participating in these programs!
But look at the cost of membership another way--think of your dues dollars as working for you. Dues dollars collected by the MDA are divided among national, state and local organizations so that a unified presence can be maintained on each of these levels. This money must fund numerous benefits and services, and cover the costs of dealing with the government, media and insurance companies.
In the end, you are actually saving money by being an MDA member. The value of direct services and the intangible benefits provided by organized dentistry alone far exceed the total dues payment itself, and some benefits would be impossible to obtain by any other means. It would cost a great deal for individual dentists if the ADA was not there to restrain the excesses of government (e.g. OSHA), or if the MDA was not there to protect them against the self-serving interests of big business and insurance companies, or lobby for or against legislation affecting the profession. If members had to hire experts to answer every question or problem that arises, pay the going rate for all continuing dental education courses or run their own media promotions - the cost would be significantly higher than the cost of membership.
Once I apply, when can I access benefits?
When we receive your application and full dues payment, you will have immediate access to all member benefits. Your name will then be listed in the MDA web site directory as a member.
Do I have to pay dues for the ADA, MDA and my local component separately?
No. In order to make things easier for you, the MDA invoices you for your MDA, ADA and local dental society dues all at the same time. The MDA then forwards the money to the ADA and to your local district dental society.
When are dues due?
Please submit all dues by Jan. 1 of each year. If you are participating in the prepaid dues plan, the last payment is due December 31st of the prior year. If dues are not paid by March 31 of each year, that member's status is changed from active to non-member.
Can I pay with a credit card?
Yes. The MDA will be happy to accept a credit card payment through VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. Simply record your credit card number and expiration date on the appropriate line on your dues statement and mail it in. You're more than welcome to email your payment to the Membership Department.
What are my payment options?
Several options are available:
Are my dues tax-deductible?
Dues payments are deductible by members as an ordinary and necessary business expense. As part of the deficit reduction legislation of 1993, the tax law was changed to prohibit taxpayers from deducting expenses attributable to lobbying, as defined in the law. Accordingly, only that portion of your dues not attributable to lobbying activities remains deductible. We provide you with a statement of the non-deductible percent of your dues attributable to lobbying activities right on your dues statement. For 2009 the ADA non-deductible portion is 9% and the MDA portion is 12.04%.
I'm a recent graduate. Do I pay full dues?
The ADA and MDA recognize that recent graduates need some time to get settled in the profession. The ADA, MDA, and local districts offer four years of reduced dues with continuous membership. You owe no dues the year you graduate plus the year after. You then enjoy three more years of reduced dues. Beginning with your second-year out, your MDA dues are only 15 percent of full dues if you were an ASDA member (25 percent is you were not an ASDA member). In your third year out of dental school, you pay 50 percent of full dues. In your fourth year out of dental school, you only pay 75 percent of full dues. Your ADA dues are graduated at 25 percent, 50 percent and 75 percent for your first four years after dental school. You won't pay 100 percent dues until your fifth full-year out of dental school. If you attend an extended education program continuously with dental school, your reduced dues begin after you complete your extended program, as long as you maintained continuous membership.
My dues statement lists a lot of things. What do they mean and what is mandatory for me to pay?
In order to keep you informed about where your money goes and to abide by various laws, the MDA breaks down your dues statement into individual sections. They are:
I'm retired. Do I still pay full dues?
To be eligible for ADA and MDA retired status (which means a 75 percent dues discount), you must be fully retired (not earning any income from your practice or knowledge of dentistry).
The Saint Paul District charges retired dues. The remaining local societies charge no retired dues.
I only work part time. Do I qualify for a discount?
If you are earning a net between $1 and $40,000 a year from your practice or knowledge of dentistry, you would qualify for the MDA limited time practice/professional leave category, with a discount of 75 percent off of MDA and district dues.
To obtain limited income practice/professional leave status at the MDA and local district level, you must sign an affidavit stating your net earnings are between $1 and $40,000 from your practice or knowledge of dentistry. The affidavit must be approved by your local dental society yearly.
My spouse and I are about to have a baby and I'm planning on taking the year off. Can I qualify for reduced dues?
Again, if you are earning a net between $1 and $40,000 a year from your practice or knowledge of dentistry, you would qualify for the MDA retired/limited income practice/professional leave category, with an 75 percent MDA dues discount. You may also qualify for a partial or full dues waiver. For waiver information, call Dawn Jensen at (800)950-3368, ext. 103.
I'm in an extended education program. What do I pay?
You are eligible for MDA graduate student dues if you are enrolled in an educational program of not less than one academic year in an accredited dental school, or in an internship or residency program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. MDA graduate student dues are $10. The ADA's graduate student dues are $30.
I've been a member for quite some time. Do I qualify for Life membership? If yes, what would my dues be?
Life membership is available to members in the year after they turn age 65. To be eligible for Life Membership, a dentist must have maintained membership for either 30 consecutive years or a total of 40 years. A Life Member who is still practicing will only pay 50% of a full dues payment. A Life Member who is fully retired does not pay any dues.
Is there someone I can talk to about my dues?
Yes. Please call the MDA at (612)767-8400 or toll-free at (800)950-3368 and ask for Dawn Jensen (ext. 103) or Dar Numan (ext. 110). MDA office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Once I'm a member, can I use the MDA logo on my dental office materials?
MDA Members may use the MDA logo (service mark) on certain promotional pieces to indicate membership in the Association, provided a written license agreement has been signed. For more information or to obtain a copy of the Service Mark License Agreement, contact the MDA office at 1-800-950-3368.
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