Managing Out-of-Pocket Dental Expenses
Third-party financing and payment plan options are available to help manage out-of-pocket dental expenses. If you have dental insurance, your coverage will reduce your financial burden. However, unless you have funds readily available to cover your out-of-pocket expenses, you may want to review the various options available to help you pay for your dental care.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Some employers offer programs through which a certain portion of an employee's income is allocated to a special flexible spending account before taxes are assessed. The employee benefits from less taxation and can use these funds for dental, medical or optical treatment, or related healthcare expenses, even if over-the-counter.
Check with your employer to learn if a flexible spending account is available for you. If so, ask what the timeframe is for enrollment and reimbursement of eligible expenses.
Discount Dental Plans
Discount dental plans, designed for individuals, families and groups looking to save money on their dental care needs, are affordable and easy-to-use alternatives to dental insurance. Plan members receive access to a large network of participating dental care providers who agree to accept a discounted fee from plan members as payment-in-full for services performed.
Discount dental plans offer savings on a wide range of dental procedures, including examinations, cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatments, root canals, braces, dentures, wisdom tooth extractions, gum surgery, dental implants, fillings, crowns and bridges.
Discount dental plans have no annual limits, no health restrictions and no complicated or lengthy paperwork. Once you join a discount dental plan, you can start saving right away, with some plans even offering savings on cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and other dental specialties.
DentalPlans.com is the largest and most experienced online provider of discount dental plans. It features an extensive network of more than 100,000 dentists in more than 30 national and regional plans. Participating dental specialists, including orthodontists, oral surgeons, periodontists, endodontists and pediatric dentists, are included in many plans.
Benefits of DentalPlans.com's discount dental plans include:
- It offers savings of 10 percent to 60 percent on most dental procedures.
- There is one low yearly membership fee (will vary depending on the plan you choose).
- There are no annual limits.
- It provides immediate online enrollment and a quick activation plan.
- It offers easy-to-use search tools and plan comparison charts, as well as customer service representatives to assist in choosing the right plan for you and your family.
- Discounts on dental specialties are available with most plans; orthodontic treatment is included in select plans.
- There are no health restrictions.
Many plans offer additional benefits to help you save on prescription, vision, chiropractic and hearing expenses. Once you find the best plan for your needs, you can purchase it online or by phone with a credit card or electronic check. You can then access your DentalPlans.com Member's Area to receive your Online Membership Package instantly.
Most discount dental plans available on www.DentalPlans.com activate within one to three business days. You can use your discount dental plan the same day it is activated.
Dental Office Payment Plans
Some dental practices offer in-house financing for long-standing, established patients. These plans vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors such as the dentist, patient, length, type and cost of the treatment involved; and payment method, frequency and amount.
Some practices may require a down payment with the remaining balance due upon completion of treatment. Others may offer monthly payment plans until the fee is completely paid off. Some practices may charge interest or penalties for late payments.
Every dental practice differs in how flexible it is and what types of payment plans are offered. Don't hesitate to ask about your dentist's financing options during your next visit to see if you can negotiate a fair and reasonable payment plan that works for everyone involved.
Independent finance plans and finance companies offer various options to meet the budget and credit limit requirements of most applicants seeking cosmetic and restorative dental treatment. Funds received from dental finance companies can be used for out-of-pocket co-payments, or the entire fee.
There are "same-as-cash" finance options with no interest for 12 to 24 months, as well as other low interest rate options requiring monthly installments with little or no down payment.
Treatment finance plans may activate the day of your initial consultation, or up to 60 days after application approval. To determine which finance option is right for you, contact your dentist and ask if the practice has agreements with one or more finance companies.
You can complete a dental finance application when you visit your dentist, online at a finance company website or via a toll-free number. Finance approval usually arrives within minutes.
Credit history often does not influence the approval process. As with any finance agreement, read the fine print to check for hidden fees.
Dental Financing Options: What's Available?
There literally are hundreds of third-party healthcare financing companies available. There are finance companies owned by banks, as well as state-by-state independent dental finance brokers who work with multiple lenders. Below we offer a representative sampling of some of the largest and/or most popular financing companies currently available.
The nation's leading financing program accepted by more than 125,000 healthcare providers CareCredit is a credit card program exclusively for healthcare services, many of which are not covered by dental insurance.
Benefits of CareCredit include:
- It offers convenient monthly payment plans.
- You can use your card repeatedly for follow-up appointments or other procedures.
- No up-front costs or prepayment penalties.
- You also can use it for chiropractic, cosmetic treatments and surgery, fertility, hair restoration, hearing care, LASIK and vision care, weight loss and veterinary medicine.
CareCredit is endorsed by the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
You can apply online or download and print an application form and take it to your healthcare provider. After submitting the application form, you generally will learn within minutes whether you have been approved.
For more information, an online application or to find a dentist who offers CareCredit, visit www.CareCredit.com. Since not all practices offer every plan, check with your dentist's office manager or financial coordinator to learn which CareCredit plans they do offer.
The ALL Care credit card is an exclusive line of credit established to pay for your dental expenses. Plan availability is determined at your dentist's office. Payment options include no-interest payment; reduced rate payment (with a fixed APR rate of 8.9 percent, low monthly payments and up to four years to pay off your debt); and extended payment, which gives you the flexibility of monthly payments and a fixed APR of 14.99 percent.
Benefits of ALL Care include:
- It allows you to begin your dental treatment finance plan immediately with no down payment.
- Monthly payments can be as low as $25 per month.
- You can pay for ongoing treatment without reapplying.
- You can pay for your entire family's dental work.
- There is no pre-payment penalty or annual fee.
To apply, complete the application at your dentist's office and receive your credit decision in minutes. If your dentist does not offer the ALL Care Plan, you can contact ALL Care for participating dentist referrals at www.AllCareFinance.com.
Citi Health Card
A Citi Health Card account affords you flexible financing for healthcare services for you and your family including insurance deductibles and co-payments through participating dentists and orthodontists, as well as vision care specialists, veterinarians and other providers.
If you qualify, the Citi Health Card also accesses a Citi Health MasterCard account that you can use wherever MasterCard is accepted, including non-participating offices. Purchases made at participating providers will be charged to the Citi Health Card account; purchases made everywhere else are billed to the Citi Health MasterCard account.
Benefits of Citi Health Card include:
- There is no annual fee for the Citi Health Card.
- Participating providers may offer a variety of payment plans for many procedures that are not fully covered by insurance.
- You and your family can continue to use the Citi Health Card for additional treatments, up to your credit limit.
- You can find a participating provider 24 hours a day by using the website's online "Find a Provider" feature.
For more information, visit www.citicards.com. Once you are accepted, your Citi Health Card will arrive in two to three weeks. However, even before receiving your card, you can use your Citi Health Card account right away; for verification purposes, take photo identification with you to the participating provider's office at the time of treatment.
Chase finance offers flexible, no-interest payment plans for assorted dental, orthodontic and cosmetic surgery needs. These include veneers, implants, crowns, bridges, dentures and oral surgery.
Benefits of the Chase HealthAdvance financing include:
- It offers instant credit decisions with no application fee.
- There are no-interest payment plans for three, six, 12, 18 and 24 months.
- It offers extended payment plans up to 48 months, depending on your credit background and programs your dentist participates in (interest rates can start at 11.99 percent).
- Revolving lines of credit start at $5,000.
- There is no down payment.
Chase HealthAdvance does not offer referrals, but it does boast an extensive network of doctors that offer its payment plans. If your dentist of choice does not participate in the HealthAdvance program, HealthAdvance will contact the dentist on your behalf and invite him/her to enroll.
You can get an instant credit decision if you apply at a participating doctor's office. For more information, visit www.ChaseHealthAdvance.com.
While your account is active, you can use it for any dental, orthodontic, cosmetic, vision correction, chiropractic, med spa or veterinary treatments at participating practices. After the initial 90-day approval period, contact any participating practice you want and request an authorization for additional charges up to your maximum credit line on your account.