Implementing Dental Financing in Your Practice
Looking to grow your patient base by offering easy dental financing options? We have been helping organizations with that for over 40 years and we love to see them thrive. So we decided to put together a quick guide for you to learn more about the demand for financing, what are your options, the benefits of partnering with a patient financing provider, and more.
Why Dental Offices Seek Financing Options
As reported by the CDC in 2019, 50.2% of people from ages 18-64 had dental insurance coverage. Statistics varied by region with coverage ranging from 45.5% to 57.1%. Among those with dental coverage, 22.1% did not see a dentist in the past 12 months and 4.4% reported unmet dental needs due to cost.
In 2018, a survey found half of the patients were forced to delay dental or medical care. Poor oral health has been associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, pneumonia, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
As you may be aware, both the cost of healthcare and provider competition have increased. With an increase in the number of dental practices, dental practices have been finding themselves in the need to innovate their operational processes to create more customer-centered services, like offering dental financing solutions for example. Dental financing enables providers to fulfill the dental care needs of their patients while offering financial plans to reduce the upfront economic burden. Patients cite financing as a major reason they pursue the entire proposed treatment by the dentist.
What is Dental Patient Financing?
Dental patient financing enables a patient seeking dental care to access a line of credit or a loan to cover the costs of their treatments. It reduces the upfront cost by allowing the patient to pay in monthly installments over a time period. Dental financing is similar to loan servicing when purchasing a home appliance. Patient financing allows for the healthcare provider to receive prompt payment while payment plans are arranged with a third-party lender.
While available plans are chosen by the office, covered services may include:
- Root canals
- Teeth whitening
- Gum Surgery
- Dental implants
- Cosmetic dentistry
All pricing options will be presented to the dentist. Options are based on practice size and provider fees are based on the patient’s credit. The practice will select the options they will offer to their patients. Tiered options for payments include 12, 24, or 36-month options. Monthly payments range depending upon the cost of surgical procedures. For surgical procedures with costs ranging from 1-5K range, your patients may expect typical monthly payments from $180-$361 for 12 months or $96-$193 for 24 months. For procedures with costs from 5 to 10K, monthly payments range from $451 to $902 for 12 months or $242- $485 for 24 months.
In a busy dental practice, dental financing can seem like a burden. It takes staff time to explain options and complete the process. With the administrative burden of insurance demands, the idea of more paperwork and more staff time seems overwhelming. Time Investment makes dental financing simple, convenient, and quick for providers and their patients by using an easy online system with digital signature and immediate approval.
Is There a Demand in Your Practice for Dental Financing?
According to the FDI World Dental Federation, oral health conditions are the fourth-most expensive health need to treat. Estimations for gum disease treatments ranged from $500 to $10,000 in 2019. The costs associated with repairing missing or damaged teeth are substantial. Crowns can cost from $600 to $1000 and implants can cost $2000 or more. In fact, dental care, when compared to other types of medical care, has more financial barriers.
77% of healthcare consumers say it’s important or very important they know their costs before treatment and 53% want to discuss financing options prior to care. However, only 18% of patients report their healthcare provider discussed financing options with them.
Dental financing is a great solution for medical costs. Splitting the costs up month by month softens the burden on the families in your practice. In fact, In 2018, half of all Americans report delaying dental, eye, and primary care exams.
Your patients benefit because they are able to have the necessary treatment immediately, and your practice receives immediate payment. By utilizing financing, patients can purchase the high-quality services, and the care they deserve. With that, dental offices should strongly consider patient financing as it improves the customer satisfaction of the patients in your practice.
Types of Third-Party Patient Financing
The three types of dental financing include traditional third-party financing, in-house dental financing and dependent third-party financing. Let’s explore each option so you may determine the best option for your business.
Traditional Third-Party Financing
Traditional third-party financing is the use of a credit card to cover the cost of dental treatment. This is one of the most common practices. When a patient uses a credit card, a dental practice receives the funds paid within forty-eight hours. When a card is used, the issuing bank with whom the card owner is affiliated assumes responsibility and risk should the patient not be able to pay for the charges. Banks cover their risks by claiming 100% interest on all payments that are not made during the billing cycle.
Two main disadvantages to traditional third-party financing exist:
- A processing fee of 2.5% to 3% is charged to your dental practice for the bank’s role in facilitating a payment transaction.
- Dental patients may not have or want credit cards. A poor credit score or lack of credit approval may prevent them from obtaining a credit card. Third-party dependent financing is a solution for these patients.
In-House Dental Financing
Due to challenges with traditional third-party financing, dental practices may institute in-house payment plans to help their patients. With in-house dental financing plans, the dental practice decides the parameters around the dental services and the financial compensation the patient will pay. The dental office constructs the plan, interest rates (if necessary), deductibles, down payments, and monthly payments. The practice assumes all risk for future nonpayment of performed dental services.
Many dental offices do not want to assume the risk. Many staff hours would need to be dedicated to collecting payments which put undue stress on the practice’s team. If the patient refuses to pay, a long, costly legal battle may exist to recover the money. These efforts may be unsuccessful or may even ruin the practice’s reputation.
Dependent Third-Party Financing
When compared to the previous two finance methods, a dependent third-party financing method is best for most dentists. The dental practice partners with a third-party lender to negotiate the terms and conditions surrounding the services offered.
This financing option allows more flexibility for the practice and more customization of dental service payments for patients. Your practice captures more patients when payment options are tailored to their financial profile.
As a third-party financing company, Time Investment has been partnering with healthcare businesses to help manage their patient’s payments. If you feel this would be beneficial to your practice, we would like to discuss a tailored program with you.
Benefits of Dental Financing For Your Practice
Dentists who implement dental financing see a positive impact on their profitability within a few days. Besides increasing profitability and customer retention, other benefits include:
- Greater Flexibility leading to Greater Profitability- With flexible finance solutions, your practice will improve patient retention. An increase in patient volume leads to greater practice profitability.
- Customer Engagement and Practice Appreciation- A study by Dentistry ID found 78% of dental patients cited the offering of financing options as an important factor in pursuing the full course of treatment as recommended by their doctor. Social media has increased the importance of customer experience and customer satisfaction. Financing options make your office an easy place for patients to conduct business.
- Increase in Referrals- Patient word of mouth is the greatest source of new patient referrals. As you retain more patients, they are likely to spread the word about the practice’s services and financing options.
- Practice Differentiation- Set your practice apart as an innovative and modern dental practice. Your practice is unique amongst your competitors as few dental practices offer this service.
- Accounts Receivable- Your practice does not assume any risk for patients who fail to repay.
- Patient Retention- Approvals may be processed prior to the patient’s appointment to improve your retention rates.
- Instant Payment- Your practice receives the payment instantly which improves your cash flow
Why Time Investment Company For Dental Financing?
Time Investment is a family-owned investment business. As our client, you should expect exceptional customer service, integrity, and excellence in all business practices, and a modern system with features to grow your practice.
For over 40 years, dental practices have collaborated with us as a partner business to identify viable finance plans to benefit their patients. We tailor the loan program in order to provide a solution for each patient to fund their dental needs.
Our partnership enables your practice to offer a competitive finance package to your patients to proceed with dental services on a monthly repayment plan. Loan approval is instantaneous and approval rates are much higher than with other lending agencies.
A partnership with Time Investment will increase the profitability of your practice and the satisfaction of your patients. Complete our contact form for more information on the implementation of financing options in your dental practice.