Dental Financing Options at Your Disposal
When you are short on cash, going to the dentist can seem like an issue of convenience. Yet in fact, it's a matter of necessity. It can be quite expensive at that.
Throw an expensive procedure into the mix, and the dentist's office becomes a place you like less and less with every visit. We could write a completely different article delving into the nuances behind why most consumer health plans include negligible dental coverage. However, the focus of today's piece is dental financing, and how to maintain oral health without going broke.
With the right dental financing options at your fingertips, you can look forward to each trip and getting the health care you deserve.
On that note, here's a look at some financing alternatives you could try out:
1) Setup up an in-house dental payment plan
You can obtain a no-interest installment plan from some dental offices. This means you will pay monthly on your bill, without insurance involvement. For example, you will foot a deposit and pay off the sum according to a monthly or weekly program. This agreement is typically prevalent with services that'd require frequent trips for long-lasting treatment. Most offices will not offer this for your initial surgical cost, but for retainer maintenance following the procedure. You have to ask your dentist for specifics, as these are usually custom payment options, offered on a case by case basis. You're more likely to get a deal like this if you have a long-standing relationship with the office and a good credit score.
For example, orthodontists often have such payment options in place for braces. However, they may not be inclined to offer this option to cover a one-time procedure such as tooth filling. They'll see this as a payment flight-risk, meaning you may have the service performed and ghost without fulfilling the payment. However, policies vary from one clinic to another, so be sure to have a sit down with your dentist to work out the possibilities.
2) Get dental insurance
As with general health issues, the best way to cushion against hefty costs of treatment lies in seeking an insurance plan beforehand. There are several options to choose from with the two mainstream options being PPO and HMO.
The former offers more comprehensive coverage than the latter. Like the previous example as well, certain dentists prefer one plan over the other.
For example, at our clinic, we do accept PPO plans. However, we do not accept HMO plans. If you take a look at your card, it should say which type of plan you qualify for. If you can't find it, give us a call, and we're happy to help you find it.
3) A credit card works too
If you're short on cash, a credit card can bail you out if it becomes apparent you need more than just a single checkup. The majority of dentists accept credit cards, and if you go with a card that offers cashback or reward points, you'll get bonus perks. Companies like Care Credit are specifically designed to aid with expensive medical bills. From performing emergency surgery on your dog to getting a Brazilian Butt Lift - these kinds of
Care Credit is an awesome alternative with 12-36 month repayment options. The only stipulation is that Care Credit interest rates can be quite steep. They also might require you to pay a co-pay or deposit based on your credit score, and the medical office may also require a cash deposit for the services.
If you don't have a credit card, getting a new one with no APR starting should be simple. With an average credit score, this can be done within a few hours. Before you do that though, be sure that you can make the payments according to the projected timeline. Otherwise, you'll incur significant interest after the zero-APR period ends.
4) Open a Health Savings Account
An HSA, or Health Savings Account, allows you to save up pre-tax money each month.
Similar to a 401K, this type of account subsidizes medical bills by paying into an account that you can pull from at a later date.
HSA savings can go toward dental care among other medical expenses. This option can be unappealing, however, if you do not incur medical expenses as the money can't be used toward other expenses when you find yourself in a bind.
Keeping in mind the 2019 HSA contribution limits, you can contribute up to $7,000 for a family, or $3,500 for single-member coverage. Some HSA plans will also pay into your account and even match deposits, just like a 401K, but be sure to read the fine print.
Those above 55 years of age typically get an extra $1,000 above the standard restriction. Sometimes families and "healthy" young people without any past medical issues receive benefits as well.
5) Take out a Personal Loan
Alternatively, if your dental situation is a bit of an emergency, you can take out a personal loan. This is pretty straight forward. Personal loans can be used for just about anything. And they usually have very high-interest rates and low monthly minimums.
This is the least recommended option as it's easy to accrue a lot of debt this way. You may end up drowning in debt, and even have to file bankruptcy as a result. However, in an emergency situation - this may be the only viable option. Do your research before applying for a personal loan. As mentioned, you should try to avoid this route, especially if you plan to buy a home or make a large purchase in the near future.
There you have it, a plethora of dental financing options. There's no excuse now for putting off your next appointment. Cavities and plaque buildup can have a serious impact on your self-esteem. It's best to see a dentist at least twice a year to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.
By going for regular checkups, you might even circumvent an underlying problem before it requires surgery or a more invasive procedure. Procedures that could have cost you thousands of dollars if left unattended are easily avoided with regular maintenance visits.