By Roger P. Levin, DDS
More patients and parents are ortho shopping or postponing treatment than ever before. Making orthodontic treatment affordable for parents and patients is essential in the new dental economy. The best way to do this is by offering the following four options:
- A 5% or even 10% pre-payment courtesy. For those willing and able to pay the entire fee at the beginning of treatment, this option represents an attractive discount. Though the practice receives slightly less income, reductions in billing time and expenses—not to mention possible collection problems— compensate in part for this.
- Automated payments from credit card, check, or savings accounts. For the parent or patient, using this method offers the convenience of making regular monthly payments effortlessly. For the practice, it provides easy control of the collection process.
- In-house payment plan. This traditional ortho payment option—typically consisting of a 25% initial deposit followed by monthly payments—can still make sense in some cases. However, the practice must work to keep the initial deposit as low as possible, or it will discourage case acceptance.
- Outside patient financing. This payment option is proving to be very popular in ortho practices that offer it. After going through a quick and simple approval process, the patient or parent gets a loan or line of credit from an independent finance company. The ortho practice receives its fee prior to treatment, and the parent or patient makes affordable monthly payments to the finance company.
By offering all of these options, an orthodontic practice can put an end to postponements and price shopping—turning more presentations into starts and growing the practice.