Your membership provides you with access to solutions to your practice, personal, and professional needs. In addition, it is vital to maintaining the effectiveness of organized dentistry as the profession faces challenges in the marketplace, government, and regulatory areas.

These questions and answers cover some of the most-asked topics about MDA, ADA and local district dues. As you’ll see, there are many different membership categories, as well as payment options.

If you have other questions, please call the MDA membership staff at 517-372-9070 or 800-589-2632.

Members are encouraged to renew by the end of the year, but are given a grace period through March 31. Payment plans are available and may extend after March 31.

There are several options available: automatic withdrawal from your credit card, a prepaid program, one lump sum remit, and more.

For credit card payments, the MDA accepts VISA, MasterCard and American Express. You can use your credit card three ways: online, payment slip or by phone.

To pay online, simply log into the MDA website. It’s fast, convenient and safe with our secure website.

For payment slip renewals, simply write your card number and expiration date on the appropriate line of your statement and mail it in. Phone payments may be made by calling the MDA accounting department at 800-589-2632.

Please see the back of your statement for complete details.

The ADA and MDA recognize that recent graduates need some time to get settled in the profession. Therefore, both the ADA and MDA offer several years of reduced dues with continuous membership.

You owe nothing the year you graduate. You then enjoy four years of reduced dues. You won’t pay 100 percent until your fifth full-year out of dental school. If you attended an extended education program continuously with a dental school, your reduced dues begin after you complete your extended program, as long as you maintained continuous membership.

The MDA breaks down your statement into individual sections. They are:

American Dental Association. This item represents your ADA membership. (The ADA may add special assessments to the statement to fund particular projects.)

Local District/Component. This represents your local dental society membership. Remember, membership is tripartite. That means you belong to your local dental society, the Michigan Dental Association and the American Dental Association.

MDA. This represents your MDA membership.

MDA Special Assessment. Assessments are used to fund specific projects or services. For 2016 these mandatory payments are used to fund the MDA’s Public Education Campaign. These are broken out to show you how much of your money is used for these purposes.

MDA Dental PAC. This optional payment is used to fund the MDA’s Political Action Committee, and is critical to the MDA and the success of our legislative programs in the state Legislature. Contributions to Dental PAC maintain your voice in the Legislature. Without a strong Dental PAC in Lansing, legislative decisions that affect your dental practice will be made without organized dentistry’s influence.

ADPAC. This optional payment is used to fund the ADA’s Political Action Committee, which helps support the ADA’s legislative program. These contributions are used to support elected officials in the United States House of Representatives and Congress.

Michigan Dental Association Foundation. This optional tax-deductible contribution supports the Michigan Dental Association Foundation, a 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization aligned with the Michigan Dental Association. Its mission is to provide financial support to individuals and programs whose focus is to enhance, educate and improve the dental profession and the oral health environment within Michigan.

To be eligible for ADA and MDA retired status (which means a 75 percent ADA discount and an 85 percent MDA discount), you must be fully retired (not earning any income from the knowledge of dentistry).

Four local districts charge for retired membership (Detroit, Macomb, Northeastern and Oakland County). The remaining local societies do not charge any retired dues.

If you are earning a net income less than $50,000 a year from your practice or knowledge of dentistry, you qualify for the MDA limited time practice/professional leave category, with a discount of 85 percent off of MDA membership. To obtain limited time practice/professional leave status at the MDA and local district levels, you must sign an affidavit stating that your net earnings are less than $50,000 from your practice or knowledge of dentistry. The affidavit must be approved by your local district.

If you are earning a net income less than $50,000 a year from your practice or knowledge of dentistry, you qualify for the MDA limited time practice/professional leave category, with an 85 percent MDA membership discount. You may also qualify for a partial or full dues waiver. For waiver information, call the membership department at 800-589-2632, ext. 451.

You are eligible for MDA and ADA graduate student membership 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 membership is free. The ADA’s graduate student membership is determined annually by the ADA.

At the MDA, ADA, and local levels, life membership is awarded in May of each year to members who are turning age 65 during that year and have 30 consecutive years of membership or 40 total years of membership. Dues will be reduced to reflect life member status the year you turn 66.

There are two categories of ADA and MDA life membership: active (working) and retired. Active life members pay 75 percent of ADA and MDA dues for as long as they work. Fully retired life members do not pay dues. For questions on life membership, contact the membership department at 800-589-2632, ext. 451.

Yes. Call the MDA toll-free at 800-589-2632 and ask for the accounting department for billing questions or the membership department for membership questions. MDA office hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.