I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a patient say, “I’d love to do all the treatment, but I just can’t afford it.” In the most recent ADA News an article was written offering tips to practices on how to assist patient’s and their financing. So, how can our office and other offices help people afford their treatment in these trying economic times?
1. Offer more payment options
Most practices accept credit cards and more than 65% offer a third-party financing program. Offering patients payment plans allows them to get the healthcare they need, in order to rid their bodies of infection and eat and live comfortably with healthy teeth or fitted prosthetics. Cindy Hearn, vice president of the financing program CareCredit says, “Patients appreciate being offered a variety of payment options that allows them to choose the one that best fits their lifestyle and financial needs, especially in today’s economic environment.” I have found this to be true in my experience as well. Patients want to take care of their teeth and oral health, and this allows them some breathing room to be able to set up a financial plan to do so.
CareCredit seems to be the most common third-party financing program, and is the only payment plan endorsed by the ADA Business Resources. Many practices have utilized CareCredit for years in order to better assist their patients. The allure to CareCredit, besides its prestigious endorsement by the ADA, is their gentle and fair approach to patients. Their reporting process is reliable and easy to understand, alleviating patient’s stress. (Our office is currently a provider for CareCredit, for more information please see the end of this post.)
2. Put patients at ease
It’s important for dentists and their staff to fully educate the patient on their needed treatment and the prices that accompany it. In addition, if the office offers various payment plans, the patient should be made aware of these plans in order to assist them in paying for their treatment. The best way to do this is to give the patient a written financial policy prior to any treatment. It is then wise to discuss the treatment fee’s and payment options with the patient, to work together to create a plan and schedule. At my office this is top priority, and we always strive to work together with the patient. A dental office should be a caring compassionate environment where the doctor, staff and patient can all work together to provide the patient with the best treatment possible. We don’t want the patient to be surprised with any fees they were unaware of before treatment commences.
3. Patient payment program
Offering the patient CareCredit or other financing options, like holding their credit card for monthly withdrawals can be helpful for patients. In addition to CareCredit, my office also offers EPS90: a 90 day no credit check EZ payment plan. This can help those patients that may have questionable credit and would prefer to utilize a no credit check financing plan.
For more information as to what payment plans my office offers, or to schedule, visit the following page for our office info: Services and Scheduling