Our Take On Dental

Blog posts, articles, and notes on how to thrive in the dental business.

Financing Gives Patients — and Practices — Options

These days, few patients are feeling flush with cash. The lingering effects of inflation and an overall sense of economic uncertainty mean that for many people, paying for treatment feels like more of a challenge than it might have in some years past.

But that doesn’t mean that demand for dental care has lessened. Patients need cleanings, crowns, and fillings as much as ever — which means that practices need to get creative about how to lower financial barriers to treatment.

Traditionally, many practices have offered in-house financing options. In ortho, especially, it’s common for patients to make several years’ worth of monthly payments to the practice instead of paying thousands of dollars upfront.

However, in-house financing isn’t always something a practice is willing or able to do. And over the last decade, that model has begun to shift towards third-party solutions — a change that many expect will only continue to pick up speed in today’s economy.

Jason Haselhuhn, chief revenue officer at PrimaHealth Credit, says patients and practices alike are increasingly turning to third-party financing options. “What we’re seeing grow in the market,” he tells us, “is the buy-now-pay-later solutions or structured payment solutions that are providing access to care.”

For patients, this kind of financing can be a lifeline to treatment, albeit at the cost of interest payments. But the major benefit for practice owners is about risk — or rather, reducing it.

Typically, about 15 percent of patients on a payment plan default on their loan. This means that practices offering in-house payment plans can expect to collect 85 cents on every dollar they finance.

The promise of third-party financing is that practices will get paid upfront by the lending company. The lender — not the practice — will then be on the hook for any risk of default.

Jason notes that practices also can see a boost in conversion and case acceptance rates when they know they can make it simple for people to pay for treatment. “It keeps the conversations very easy,” he says, while also observing that separating practices from any issues around late payment (now handled by the lender) can help preserve the treatment relationship between doctors and patients.

Every patient faces their own unique set of financial circumstances, so there’s no one right answer to the payment conundrum. But we do like seeing people — and practice — have choices, and hope that continues to be the case.

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