Financing Options Available to Your Orthodontic Patients
One of the first decisions your patients will make is finding the best type of braces for their budget. With the variety of options available, most can select the option appropriate for their personal goals and lifestyle.
There is great importance in maintaining affordability for the patient throughout their care experience. From regular office visits and emergency care to the final removal and retention phase, providing patients with payment options will help insure affordability for continued care, while instilling confidence in your services.
Installment payment agreements are a simple option for monthly payments made by the patient for their orthodontic services. Payments can be set up monthly, bi-weekly, or in the manner agreed upon by both parties in the written agreement. Although these types of arrangements are easy to get into, they are often more difficult to manage – especially when patients fall behind on payments or are unable to pay at all. Then all of the collection duties fall on office staff, rather than a 3rd party. However, if you have an ongoing relationship with a particular patient and their family, you may feel that they can be trusted enough to easily establish a monthly payment plan with little risk on your part. Many offices prefer to have plans such as this, but do not advertise that they do. Instead, they are made available only as necessary.
Taking this route provides several advantages to all parties involved. Work with a local bank to establish a line of credit and payment plan available specifically for your patients. Patients with limited credit options or on a tighter monthly budget will appreciate that you’ve taken the confusion out of the month-to-month affordability for them ahead of time. Working with a bank that you have an ongoing relationship with will take away any confusion for your staff, and expedite the treatment process for your patients.
3rd Party Lenders
Health lenders such as CareCredit and Lending Club specialize in quick loans and lines of credit for medical, dental, and even veterinary related expenses. Often these lenders will provide their customers with a short-term loan at a higher interest rate, which encourages people to pay them back in an expedited manner. While these can be convenient for the ease of which they are obtained, they could leave the borrower of the loan paying more in the long-run.
Filing dental insurance on the behalf of your patients will help to lighten the load of any financial barriers. Fortunately, the majority of plans do cover orthodontic treatments, at least for children. To prevent any confusion, it is ideal to get a preapproval or preverification of the patient’s particular coverage prior to discussing the treatment plan.
In certain cases, it may be beneficial to prove that the treatment is medically necessary – such as in situations where TMJ disorder or severe malocclusions are evident. Otherwise, the insurance company may refuse payment.
Offering two or three options to your patients can make the payment process simpler on everyone’s part – even if you’ve decided to use one in particular, it’s best to have a “back up” so that no patient walks away without the care that they need.