Patient Financing Options
Patients often have dental insurance to cover the fees for multiple visits each year. There are however, more expensive procedures and treatments that may not be completely covered by their insurance plan. Thus it requires them to have to pay out of pocket.
When faced with paying fees associated with more costly procedures like dental surgeries, veneers, or root canals, the price tag of those treatments may cause them to deny or delay procedures, which can make the prognosis worse.
In order to avoid having a patient not receive medically necessary dental care, the provider can offer financing options. You need to understand each option so that the patient and provider can determine which choice will work best for the individual client and the provider’s business.
Consider the following:
Working with a Private, Local Bank
Having an ongoing relationship with a local financial institution allows you to avoid being involved in the collections process or responsible for the repayment of the loan. It creates a simpler financing option for your patients, without charging you any fees. Plus, your patients can get more personalized services at lower costs than a large, commercial bank. Most smaller banks and credit unions are substantially easier and more affordable to work with.
3rd Party Dental Lenders
There are many 3rd party lending providers that specialize in medical and dental financing – including for elective procedures. Usually, your patient can apply for the financing right there in the office and receive immediate approval, so that they can go ahead and schedule their appointment. In many cases, 0% interest financing is an option, but if payments aren’t paid on time, a high interest rate may be charged. Plus, as a provider, you are often charged a flat percentage fee based on the amount being financed.
With in-house financing, your practice can offer the financing on site. This option builds a good provider-patient relationship, showing trust and confidence in the client to repay the cost of treatment. Your patient can work directly with your staff to obtain financing, being billed over time with a custom payment plan that works with their financial needs. Unfortunately, your business takes on the financial responsibility and risk involved with repayment. Not only does your practice provide the financial arrangements, but you must also be responsible for all of the follow up in regard to receiving payment in full, or collections when payments are late. If the patient does not repay their loan, you are responsible for any out of pocket expenses for their care. However, for patients that do pay in full for these types of loans, there are usually no discounts or financial charges. They are able to afford the typical cost of care without any costly fees or interest charges.
In some situations, your office may choose to offer a 3 to 5% discount for services that are paid in full, with cash/check, at the time of service. This usually benefits the patient financially, as well as your office – by avoiding interest fees that a 3rd party lender might charge. It also omits collections risks when financing treatment in-house.