Dental Financing Important in Tough Times

In this survey, the majority of dentists said they offer their patients outside financing options.

Very few dental practices these days offer their own financing. “We’ve never offered inside financing,” wrote one prosthodontist. “We don’t want to deal with any problems, so we farm the financing out.”

Here are some other things dentists had to say:

  • “It is more difficult now for people to afford one more payment that they need to come up with the money for. In this economic climate, if it doesn’t hurt to offer financing if they want to wait.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It really increases production and collections. Patients love the 0% financing.” (California dentist)
  • “Outside financing has been a tremendous financial boon for our practice. Relationships stay where they should be when the payment is to a 3rd party.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “We use Care Credit.” (California periodontist)
  • “We’ve never offered inside financing. Everyone I’ve talked to says DON’T DO IT!” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We are surprised by the number of patients who are turned down by the outside agency. In most cases, we would have provided in-house arrangements.” (Ohio oral surgeon)

Read more: Dentists Prefer Outside Dental Financing,/p>

CareCredit Accused of Predatory Lending Practices

Care CreditCareCredit is a credit card designed to help people pay for medical costs they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. About 50,000 US dental providers offer the card.

But a recent NPR report indicates that complaints about CareCredit have increased.

More patients are claiming they didn’t realize they were signing up for payments they would never be able to afford.

“People are being convinced to take on more credit than they can afford,” claims Elizabeth Landsberg, an attorney with the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “We have people who are living on a fixed income of $1,000 a month who are being signed up for $6,000 in credit. There’s no way they can make those payments.”

Though the American Dental Association endorses CareCredit, many people do not realize that the ADA is paid for its endorsement. “The blurring of medical provider and financial services provider is problematic,” said Mark Rukavina from The Access Project, a health care advocacy group.

Read the NPR report

Dental Patients Can’t Get Credit & Financing

In this survey, two out of three dentists told us that it’s gotten harder for patients to get credit. Since dental care costs money, lack of patient financing options can be a real problem in dental practice management.

“Care Credit warned us that a lot more of our patients would not qualify,” said one dentist, while another mentioned, “Enhance and Wells Fargo have discontinued dental lending.”

Here’s what else dentists have to say…

  • “Do I offer patients options? Yes. They can go get some money.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “If the patient can’t get financed and has no credit card available, there is usually a good reason not to be that person’s bank.” (California dentist)
  • “Most patients won’t even fill out the application if they don’t think they will be accepted. They usually know if they have bad credit.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “We use an outside third party company that will extract their payment from a checking account. They deal with any problems that arise like insufficient funds or closed accounts.” (Utah dental office worker)
  • “As the economy worsens, we’ve discussed down payments of 1/3 and automatic credit card or secured/automatic debit from checking account. Patients don’t always warm to Care Credit and their credit history being checked. Establishing the trust relationship is so important that often this aspect of care is the ‘make or break’ point.” (Maryland dental office worker)
  • “We are still offering external financing to everyone, but the acceptance rate is getting lower and lower. So we start with emergency or needed treatment first and have firmer financing policies in effect.” (Utah dental office worker)

Read more: Patients Struggle for Credit Approval

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