Dental Patient Financing: Making the Numbers Work in Your Favor

This week, we continue to examine how businesses can realistically implement and benefit from in-house financing — extending their own credit to help their customers afford their services. As we’ve pointed out in previous posts, the dental industry is leading the charge in this arena. In-house methods of dental patient financing have proven to be a highly effective source of both customer base expansion and wealth generation, and the metrics carry over to various other medical specialties. Today, we’ll show how in-house financing makes the numbers work in your favor. In previous posts, we’ve thoroughly examined the benefit of expanding your customer base through in-house financing. When a dental practice chooses customized patient financing as a compliment to third party options, they are able to provide care to patients that would otherwise be turned away. These patients get the dental treatment they need, improving their health and lessening the risk of more costly procedures down the line. However, the benefit to the practice should not be understated. Let’s look at numbers around a practice that opens their doors to 20 new patients in the first 6 months of offering their own patient financing.   Based on averages we see, lets assume that the average procedure price for these patients is $4,300., which results in $80,600 in new revenue that would have otherwise walked out the door, and this is just the first 6 months. Assuming that 30% of the procedure is taken as a down payment, the dentist is left with about $60,000 in payment plans. According to data compiled by Quality Dental Plan (an Extend Credit partner), a new patient is, over the course of the first year, worth $1,502 to a dental practice.  Doing simple math on 20 [...]

2017-01-18T17:48:35+00:008:04 am|

Paving the Way for Wellness Plans in the Dental Industry

In 2009, Dr. Dan Marut, DMD founded Quality Dental Plan – an Extend Credit Partner – out of his Dental practice in Ashland, Oregon. Dr. Marut’s motivations were simple: establish a way for dentists to reliably provide their services to patients without traditional insurance, through a system that is mutually beneficial to both parties “When people think of Dentistry, the first thing they think of is straight, white teeth. Unfortunately, the second thing they think of is cost,” says Dr. Marut. As a practicing dentist, Dr. Marut frequently witnessed the consequences of patients putting off dental care for financial reasons. For those without traditional insurance, the only alternatives to paying high, out-of-pocket costs for single dental visits are coupon programs such as dental discount cards. While these options may provide reduced rates on single procedures, they cause patients to “shop around” from dentist to dentist, providing little incentive to remain loyal to one provider. What’s more, even with the discount provided, patients still end up accessing each procedure at a cost similar to traditional insurance. “Let’s face it, anytime a third party is part of any economic transaction, their need to make a profit raises the costs and ultimately, the price of that economic model,” say’s Dr. Marut. “It is no different in healthcare or in our dental practices. On the other hand, Quality Dental Plan allows our dentists to offer savings to their patients, in part because the third party is eliminated, so the patient relationship stays between the dentist and patient — the way it should be.” By utilizing the QDP model, dental practices can offer membership programs to their patients at a rate competitive to dental discount cards and coupon programs. This grants the patient freer access to [...]

2017-01-18T17:54:07+00:008:45 am|

Creating New Payment Plans – Part 2

This is the fourth installment in our series, "Establishing Best Practices for Extending Credit in Today's Economy." In our previous blog post, we discussed strategies to consider in developing your customer credit program. One of these is deciding which procedures or types of transactions to include in the program and what types of customers will be eligible for credit. In this blog post, we will focus on the second part: deciding which types of customers will be eligible for credit. Strategies for Assessing Credit Risk When it comes to deciding who is eligible for extended payment terms and who is not, the decision should be based on a defined business strategy for offering credit and then on criteria that is consistently applied to all applicants. First, let’s discuss strategies for offering credit. A properly designed credit program serves a business purpose. This may be to stimulate sales, provide a financing option to customers, or supplement an outside financing program. Within the context of the business purpose, a decision should be made regarding how much credit risk is acceptable. For example, if the business purpose is to stimulate sales of a service, but stringent criteria are set for credit approval, the business may find a higher than desired percentage of applicants is declined. On the other hand, setting more lenient credit criteria may result in higher missed payments and bad debt situations. That said, it may be acceptable if the service is highly leveraged in terms of cost of sale, and the increased business volume generates additional profits that justify the bad debt dollar risk. Credit risk should be assessed based on the business purpose and should be well understood prior to commencing the program. The business [...]

2016-10-29T16:36:45+00:008:30 am|

Creating New Payment Plans – Part 1

This is the third in our series, "Establishing Best Practices for Extending Credit in Today's Economy". In our previous Best Practices’ blog post, we discussed the value of developing a written plan for extending credit and formalizing the credit process. As part of developing an overall strategy behind offering credit to your customers, you should decide which procedures or types of transactions to include in the program and what types of customers will be eligible for credit. In this blog post, we will focus on the first part: deciding which procedures or types of transactions to include in the program. Leveraged Transactions Leveraged transactions or procedures of all sizes are good candidates for selling on credit terms. Why? Because the fee you charge is high compared to the hard cost you incur to provide the service or procedure. Couple this with requiring a down payment and/or charging interest over the term of the payment plan, and lending risk can be minimized or eliminated, while growing the business and generating a high level of wealth creation for the owner(s). Let’s look at an example from the dental market and also compare this to the results you obtain using outside of third-party financing. To start, outside financing may seem attractive on the surface because the dentist gets paid immediately. If the need for immediate cash flow is critical to the dentist, an outside financing program is an option that should be considered. However, the dentist does take a discount on their fees and the lender will only approve certain patients. Also, only certain procedures are eligible for financing often at less than 100 percent financing. As a result, the dentist's revenue potential from the highly leveraged procedure is [...]

2016-10-29T16:36:45+00:008:15 am|

Getting Organized to Extend Credit

This is the second in our series, "Establishing Best Practices for Extending Credit in Today's Economy". According to a 2008 survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, when faced with a medical expense over $1,000, one out of 10 people surveyed stated that they would seek a payment plan/monthly payments from the service provider to help in paying the expense. This was before the impact of the credit crisis was really felt by the general population. Today, one can assume, if asked the same question again, that a higher percentage of people would seek payment assistance in the form of a payment plan. If your business recognizes the need to extend credit terms to your customers, you probably also realize that it would be a good idea to have a plan in order to execute successfully and avoid unnecessary repayment risk. There are several areas to consider when getting organized to extend credit. In this blog post, we will highlight "best practices" to assist you in successfully extending credit to your customers. Develop a Written Plan A plan defines the goal behind offering credit terms, a roadmap for everyone to follow in executing the plan, as well as the metrics to measure its success. Putting it down on paper forces you to really think about what is involved, offers you the ability to get valuable feedback before implementing, and the ability to share it with everyone on your team. This ensure that it is properly executed. Understand Lending and Privacy Compliance Requirements Extending credit terms is lending and is, therefore, subject to a number of state and federal consumer lending and privacy laws and regulations. It is a best practice to seek out professional [...]

2016-10-29T16:36:45+00:008:32 am|

The Need for Extending Credit is More Important Than Ever

This is the first in our series, "Establishing Best Practices for Extending Credit in Today's Economy". Successful businesses in elective healthcare, dental care, and veterinary services use customer financing to maintain and grow their sales. Like accepting different forms of payment, such as credit cards, extending credit is becoming more popular as another method to help close a sale, while enabling customers to financially secure services they would otherwise not be able to afford. Unfortunately, given the current tighter credit standards and the increase in consumers with FICO scores under 650, access to consumer financing has become significantly limited making the financing that is available more expensive for these businesses. For example, approval rates for traditional financing through credit cards or lending institutions have seen a significant double-digit decline causing many consumers to forego non-essential elective healthcare services and creating a significant revenue decline for elective healthcare providers. The credit crisis has also impacted many other B2C industries, such as education, legal, home improvement, luxury goods & services, and others that suffer from the lack of effective third party financing. DIY - extend your own credit The choice for many businesses is between offering their own payment terms or doing nothing, forgoing the much-needed revenue and crossing their fingers that the economy will improve soon. As a result, many businesses are now turning to extending credit via internally funded payment plans as a way to close the gap and create a "win-win" for their business and their customers. Extending credit through payment plans is hardly a new concept. For many types of businesses this is an accepted and well-understood practice that has helped them grow their sales and maintain customer loyalty. And, importantly, steady cash flow. [...]

2017-01-18T18:02:04+00:008:10 am|

Who knew! Dentists want to offer payment plans

We recently exhibited at the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference in Seattle. While we were a little last minute in deciding to exhibit, the show was a great success for Throughout the show, we had more booth traffic than our hard working team could handle. A lot of follow up appointments with dentists, medical billers, and potential resellers will keep our local sales team in the Seattle area hopping for some time to come. Using payment plans for managing accounts receivable was the hot topic. In today's credit challenged economy, more and more patients are struggling to pay their bills. All too often, medical bills get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Accounts receivable balances at dental practices are getting larger and aging longer. Offering payment plan options to many of these patients with outstanding balances is good business. With, the dental practice decides which accounts qualify for payment plans and how the payment plans should work. The dental practice controls whether credit checks are performed, and what interest rate and payment term to set. ExtendCredit works with the dental practice to design a "best practices" approach to communicate the offer to the patients and get them signed up. Once signed up, ExtendCredit's automated system takes over for collecting payments from the patients and handling any missed payment situations. The dental practice has real-time access to patient payment activity to stay on top of weekly cash flow from the payment plans. Using, offering payment plans as a cash flow strategy for existing accounts receivable is simple, highly automated, and effective. To learn more about how can help you manage your accounts receivable better call us today at 888-364-2808, or email us [...]

2015-06-08T19:21:49+00:008:12 am|