By Compassionate Finance on Jul 26, 2018 10:50:00 AM
While not all patients show their anxieties about costs in the same way, it’s important to know how to react if you become aware of cost concerns. Of course, your goal will be to help them achieve an affordable path to treatment, but there is nuance to having the conversation and discussing a patient’s financial situation.
While there isn’t necessarily a cookie-cutter formula for patients given the wide variety of financial standings, treatments and emotional states for each individual, there are a few pointers to keep in mind if you want to have a meaningful discussion with a patient about affording treatment.
1. Discuss Costs Early On
If you’re recommending and explaining the value of a treatment to the patient, it’s important for patients to also be aware of the costs associated with the treatment. By discussing costs early on in the process, patients can more aptly ponder their options and work out a plan of action for how they will afford their treatment. Talking about costs could also prompt the discussion of affordability and whether or not the patient feels comfortable about paying. If a patient shows concerns about costs, discussing treatment costs early will give you more time to mitigate their concerns and help them find the right solution.
2. Ask About Affordability, But Don’t Dive Too Deep
Mentioning the costs of treatment to the patient leads to a natural segway into a discussion about personal finances and what a patient can afford. Depending on the patient, asking bluntly “is this something you can afford?” won’t always be the best way forward. Instead, you can let them know that if they do end up needing help affording the costs of the procedure, there are options available that they can use to their advantage. Instead of causing them to feel self-conscious about their ability to afford care, simply let them know that various payment options are on the table if they need or want them.
3. Keep Alternative Treatments in Mind
While there are circumstances where only one type of treatment will be appropriate, sometimes less expensive alternative treatments are available (i.e. invisalign vs. traditional braces in the orthodontics space). You can help your patients understand the pros and cons of each treatment while giving them another route to affordability in addition to payment plans.
4. Reference Potential Payment Options
A patient might feel more comfortable discussing payment plans with an office manager than a dentist. Whether you or an office manager break down the potential benefits of a payment plan like Compassionate Finance, having it already prepared to showcase can help patients visualize a plan for affordability and feel more comfortable committing to treatment on the visit. Not all patients can qualify for traditional dental financing options, so it’s beneficial to have a plan that can work for all patients.
5. A Matter-of-Fact Approach Helps
Again, you don’t want to spend hours diving into the nitty gritty of a patient’s financials and what they could potentially afford. Keeping your talking points short and to-the-point will help the patient understand his or her options without becoming invasive. Some patients might be willing to open up more about their financial situation, which is helpful. In the case they’re not as keen sharing private details, giving them only what they need and nothing more is the best way forward.