For Americans without dental benefits or gaps in their coverage, necessary dental healthcare can be expensive if not entirely cost prohibitive. According to the American Dental Association, 33.6% of adults ages 19-64 do not have any dental benefits. Of the 59% of adults with dental benefits, many procedures are often not 100% covered. Cosmetic dentistry, including dental work that improves the appearance of teeth, gums and/or bite, may not be covered at all. Flexible and convenient patient financing options improve access to traditional and cosmetic dentistry treatments, creating a better experience for dentists and their patients.
By providing patients with access to affordable financing options, dental practices can elevate their patient experience and allow for full treatment acceptance without delay. This is better for the patient’s overall health and can save them money in the long run.
In-house financing is a financing option offered by dental practices to their patients directly. This means that the dental practice acts as the lender and offers patients a payment plan to cover the cost of their treatment.
Advantages of in-house financing for dental practices include increased patient loyalty and retention, as well as the ability to offer financing to patients who may not qualify for other types of financing due to poor credit or other financial challenges. However, there are also some disadvantages to offering in-house financing, such as the need to manage the financing program in-house, the risk of default by patients, and the potential for increased administrative costs.
In-house financing works by the dental practice setting up a payment plan for the patient. The patient will make payments to the dental practice over time, typically with interest or fees added to the original cost of the treatment. The payment plan is usually structured to be affordable for the patient, with payments spread out over a set period of time, such as several months or years.
Third-party financing is another financing option that dental practices can offer to their patients. In this case, the dental practice partners with a third-party lender to offer patients financing options.
The advantages of third-party financing for dental practices include the ability to offer patients a wider range of financing options, reduced risk of default, and fewer administrative burdens. However, there are also some disadvantages, such as fees charged by the third-party lender and the potential for reduced patient loyalty.
Third-party financing works by the dental practice partnering with a third-party lender who provides financing options to patients. Patients apply for financing through the lender, and if approved, the lender pays the dental practice directly for the cost of the treatment. Patients then make payments to the lender over time, with interest and fees added to the original cost of the treatment.
Healthcare credit cards are a type of credit card that is specifically designed for medical and dental expenses. These cards are issued by financial institutions, and they allow patients to finance their healthcare expenses over time.
One advantage of healthcare credit cards for dental practices is that they can be used by patients to pay for a variety of healthcare expenses, not just dental procedures. This can help attract more patients to the practice. However, there are also some disadvantages to healthcare credit cards, such as high interest rates and fees for both the patient and the dental practice.
Healthcare credit cards work like any other credit card. Patients apply for the card and, if approved, can use it to pay for their dental treatment. The card issuer pays the dental practice directly for the cost of the treatment, and the patient then makes payments to the card issuer over time.
Personal loans are another financing option that dental patients may consider to pay for their dental treatment. Personal loans are unsecured loans that can be used for a variety of expenses, including medical and dental expenses.
One advantage of personal loans for dental practices is that they do not have to manage the financing program in-house or partner with a third-party lender. However, patients may need to have good credit to qualify for a personal loan, and the interest rates may be higher than other financing options.
Personal loans work by the patient applying for a loan from a financial institution. If approved, the patient will receive a lump sum payment that can be used to pay for their dental treatment. The patient then makes payments to the lender over time, with interest added to the original loan amount.
Increased patient volume: Offering financing options with affordable monthly payments can make dental treatments more attainable for patients, increasing the number of patients who are able to receive care. This can lead to an increase in patient volume and revenue for the practice.
Increased treatment acceptance: Financing software can help to increase the acceptance rate of treatment plans by making it easier for patients to afford the cost of care. This can lead to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.
Reduced patient financial concerns: Financing software can help to reduce patient concerns about the cost of care, by allowing them to pay for their treatment over time. This gives patients peace of mind and builds trust in your practice, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Streamlined financing process: Financing software can streamline the financing process by allowing patients to see prequalified offers in a matter of minutes. They can complete the entire application process digitally and securely, in the office or from the comfort of home. This efficiency can save time for both the practice and the patient.
Expanded service offering: Financing software can make it possible for dental practices to offer more advanced treatments and procedures to their patients. Patients who are able to break up their payment over time are more likely to move forward with full treatment acceptance because they are able to budget accordingly.
The most popular type of financing for dental patients may vary depending on the specific dental practice and patient demographics. However, in-house financing and third-party financing are generally more commonly offered by dental practices than healthcare credit cards or personal loans. In-house financing can be a convenient option for patients who want to work directly with their dental practice to finance their treatment, while third-party financing can provide patients with more options and flexibility. Ultimately, the most popular financing option for dental patients may depend on factors such as the size and location of the dental practice, the patient population, and the types of treatments offered.
Choosing the right financing partner for your dental practice is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your ability to grow your business, improve patient outcomes, and streamline your financial processes. Here are a few key factors to consider when evaluating financing partners.
Functionality and Ease of Use: The first step in choosing the right financing software is to assess the specific features and functionality you need to meet the needs of your practice and your patients. This may include the ability to offer multiple financing options, easy online applications and account management, and reporting and analytics tools to track your financing activity.
Lender Partnerships: Financing software typically works by partnering with lenders or financial institutions to provide loans or credit options to patients. Be sure to review all rates, terms, and services offered.
Security: Any software that handles sensitive financial data must be secure and compliant with industry regulations. Look for a financing software solution that uses industry-standard security protocols.
Cost: It's important to consider the cost of the financing software and the potential return on investment for your practice. Look for a solution that offers transparent pricing and that can help you to increase revenue over time.
Support: Dental practitioners are in the business of healthcare and patient service. Learning financing and new technologies can be daunting for office staff. Choosing a patient financing platform with live training is key when incorporating a new financing platform and live daily support is critical when patients are in the office and ready to accept a treatment plan. FinFi Dental Financing offers both.
Once you have decided on the type of financing and who to use, it is essential to effectively promote the financing options to patients. The most successful ways to do this are by:
Patient financing is not just an option but a necessity for dentists striving to offer comprehensive care. With a significant portion of the American population lacking dental benefits or facing gaps in coverage, patient financing emerges as a lifeline to bridge the affordability gap. By making treatments accessible through in-house plans, third-party partnerships, and other avenues, dentists ensure that financial limitations do not compromise patients' oral health.
Revolutionize your loan origination processes to deliver lightning-fast digital lending approvals.
Patient financing is not just an option but a necessity for dentists striving to offer comprehensive care.