Making dental care more affordable and beneficial to patients
Russell Schafer, DDS
We purchased an established practice where insurance fees were accepted, procedure codes were downgraded, and patient treatment plan acceptance was low. New patients would visit our practice frequently, but the one major concern shared by most of them was the ability to afford our treatment plan. Most of these new patients did not have insurance, and many of the ones who did had policies that paid little to nothing for treatment. We looked at the available options that we could offer our patients to help them afford our recommended treatments, and after extensive research, we decided to try Compassionate Finance.
The difference that Compassionate Finance made for our practice was almost instantaneous. Now, when we present our patients with a treatment plan, we offer all of them financing from Compassionate Finance. The majority of our patients are approved for treatment, and the flexible loan terms allow them to choose monthly payment amounts that work best for them.
But that’s just the beginning. The other benefits that our office has received are tremendous. We’re seeing an increase in production and treatment acceptance, and most importantly, we have become a non-participating provider for insurance companies. Our insurance coordinator verifies insurance eligibility and then thoroughly explains to patients the benefits of financing with Compassionate Finance while also utilizing insurance. For those patients without insurance, our treatment plan coordinator simply tells the patient, “All of this treatment can be done for around $75 per month.” This simple concept alone has increased treatment acceptance dramatically.
Very few patients present with enough money to pay for more than $1,000 worth of treatment, and many hope to use their insurance to cover most of the costs. Typically, we will use their insurance to cover our hard costs and perhaps a small down payment. The remaining payment amount is usually similar to that of a cell phone contract or a cable TV subscription. This simple but powerful aspect of the service enables us to effectively utilize and market Compassionate Finance as a way to get patients through the door as well as convince them to start treatment.
The most amazing thing that Compassionate Finance allows us to do, is to treat infection more quickly. We are not fixing one or two teeth at a time; we are fixing one or two quadrants of teeth at a time. Our practice focuses mainly on dentures, and we see many patients who need 10 to 20 teeth removed. When patients have financing from Compassionate Finance, we can extract all of these teeth in one visit rather than just doing one at a time and waiting for the next one to hurt because the patient can only afford incremental treatments. It’s a similar situation for patients who have 10 or more cavities. With financing secured, we can treat them all during the course of 2 to 3 appointments rather than spreading them out over 2 to 3 years. By treating the infection and eliminating issues sooner, we give our patients better results and a better quality of life at a lower overall cost.
For example, Patient A has a dental insurance plan with a $1,000 annual maximum. Patient A needed several extractions, scaling and root planing, composite fillings, and a partial denture. He was also interested in bleaching. The treatment plan totaled $4,200. Insurance would not cover the partial due to a missing tooth clause, would not cover bleaching because it was cosmetic, and would only cover the plan maximum of $1,000 for the remaining procedures. Patient A was not approved for any other financial arrangement and could not afford the estimated patient portion for each visit, so our office promptly provided him with a Compassionate Finance payment plan, confidently knowing that he would be approved to proceed with treatment.
Patient A financed $3,900 with a 60-month arrangement for $99.03 monthly plus interest. As he completed treatment, insurance claims were submitted until the maximum amount was reached. Our office gave Patient A the option to apply the maximum amount received as a principal payment on the loan. This allowed him to reduce the number of total payments on the loan, making it even more affordable.
Patient B had similar costs but needed dentures. With no insurance and a fixed income, Patient B had no idea how she could afford treatment, and she wanted dentures in time for her son’s wedding in 3 months. Patient B expressed that her credit was not great and that she believed she would not qualify for other financial options. We asked her for a down payment to cover the material and laboratory costs, then secured the rest of the financing through Compassionate Finance. Patient B was approved for a comfortable monthly amount of her choosing. Compassionate Finance provides us with a simple and flexible platform to provide excellent care for all patients, regardless of their financial situation.
Although other financing options provide interest rates that can range from 20% to 35%, Compassionate Finance provides patients with interest rates averaging around 11% for patients with good credit and around 17% for those with poor credit.
The successfulness of our business due to our partnership with Compassionate Finance is immeasurable. It has allowed our office to become an out-of-network provider. We no longer need to accept downgraded fee schedules from insurance companies, try to negotiate payout amounts for procedure codes, or advise patients that the insurance company did not cover certain treatments. Thanks to Compassionate Finance, our treatment plan acceptance rate has increased significantly, and our daily production has increased 30%. Since February 2016, we have acquired an estimated $550,000 total in loans.
We couldn’t be happier with our relationship with Compassionate Finance, and we are excited about the opportunities it provides both our patients and our practice.
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Russell Schafer, DDS, maintains a private practice in New Orleans, Louisiana, that focuses on dentures and general dentistry.