Written By: Dr. Russell Schafer, DDS
We purchased an established practice where insurance fees were accepted, procedure codes were downgraded, and patient treatment plan acceptance was low. New patients would visit our practice frequently, but the one major concern most of them shared was the ability to afford our treatment plan. Most patients did not have insurance, and the ones that did, had policies that paid little to nothing for treatment. We looked at many options to offer our patients to help them afford our recommended treatments.
We’re happy to say that after extensive research, we decided to try Compassionate Finance.
The difference Compassionate Finance made to our practice was almost instantaneous. Now when we present our patients with a treatment plan, we offer all of them Compassionate Finance. The majority of our patients are approved for treatment and the flexible loan terms allow them to choose monthly payment amounts that work best for them.
That’s just the beginning. The benefits that our office has received are tremendous. We’re seeing an increase in production and treatment acceptance, and most importantly, we have become a non-participating provider for insurance companies. Our insurance coordinator verifies insurance eligibility and then thoroughly explains to patients the benefits of financing with Compassionate Finance while also utilizing insurance. For those patients without insurance, our treatment plan coordinator simply tells the patient “all of this treatment can be done for around $75.00 a month.” This simple concept alone has increased treatment acceptance dramatically.
One of the things that enabled us to become a non-participating provider for insurance companies is the fact that advertising to new and existing clients is much simpler with Compassionate Finance. Very few patients come in with enough money to pay for more than 1,000 dollars of treatment and hope to use their insurance to cover most of the costs. We typically will use their insurance to cover our hard costs and perhaps to put towards a small down payment. The remaining monthly payment amount is usually similar to that of a cell phone contract or a cable TV subscription.
This simple but powerful aspect of the service enables us to effectively utilize and market Compassionate Finance as an attractive way to get patients through our door, as well as convince them to start treatment.
The most amazing thing that Compassionate Finance allows us to do, is to treat infection more quickly. We are not fixing one or two teeth at a time, but rather fixing one or two quads of teeth at a time! Our practice focuses mainly on dentures and as such, we can see many patients who need 10 to 20 teeth removed. We can extract all these teeth in one visit rather than just doing one at a time and waiting for the next one to hurt. Our patients are so thankful that we can complete their treatments in this way, that they end up referring us to their friends and family. It’s a similar case with patients who have 10 or more cavities where we can treat them all over the course of 2 or 3 appointments rather than spreading them out over 2 or 3 years. By treating the infection quicker, we give our patients better results at a lower cost and a better quality of life by eliminating issues sooner.
Here’s an example:
Patient A had ABC Insurance with only $1,000 annual maximum. Patient A needed several extractions, SRP, composite filings, a partial, and was also interested in bleaching. This treatment plan totaled $4,200. Insurance would not cover the partial due to a missing tooth clause, would not cover bleaching because it was cosmetic, and would only cover the plan maximum of $1,000. Patient A was not approved for any other financial arrangement and could not afford the estimated patient portion for each visit. Our office promptly provided Patient A with a Compassionate Finance payment plan, confidently knowing patient A would be approved and we would proceed with their treatment.
The patient financed $3,900 with a 60- month arrangement for $99.03 monthly with interest. As Patient A completed treatment, insurance claims were submitted until the maximum amount was reached. Our office gave Patient A the option to apply the maximum as a principal payment on the loan. This allowed the patient to reduce the number of payments on the loan, making it even more affordable.
Patient B had similar costs but needed dentures. With no insurance and a fixed income, Patient B had no idea how she could afford treatment and she needed dentures for her son’s wedding in three months. Patient B expressed how her credit was not great and would not qualify for other financial options. We asked her for a down-payment that covered supply and lab costs and through Compassionate Finance we approved Patient B with a comfortable and affordable monthly amount that the patient chose. Compassionate Finance provides us with a simple and flexible platform to provide excellent care for all patients.
We actually had a patient come to our New Orleans office from Mississippi! She was an older patient who was not able to use other options for financing because her monthly income was not sufficient.
Other finance options provide interest rates that could range from 20%-35%. Compassionate Finance provides patients with interest rates averaging 11% for patients with good credit and 17% for those with not so good credit.
The successfulness and impact on our business due to our partnership with Compassionate Finance is immeasurable. It allows our office to become an out-of-network provider! We no longer need to accept downgraded fee schedules from insurance companies; we no longer have to try to negotiate payout amounts for procedure codes or advise patients that the insurance company did not cover certain treatments. Our treatment plan acceptance rate has increased significantly, and the daily production has increased 30% due to Compassionate Finance. As of now, we have an estimated $550,000 total in loans beginning from February 2016 until now.
After the one year mark, we have started updating the office as the payments from Compassionate Finance are enough to fund renovations and updating computer equipment. The office was built in the 1980’s and has not updated since. With the extra income from our weekly payments, we are putting in new flooring and repainting the office to give it a modern feel and provide a better experience for our patients.
We couldn’t be happier with our relationship with Compassionate Finance and we are excited about the opportunities it provides both our patients and our practice.
Russell Schafer is a dentist who practices in New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from Rice University as a mechanical engineer and worked for an oil company before deciding to go back for dentistry. Professionally, Dr. Schafer enjoys dentures and pedo and is likely the only dentist in existence to say that. He started NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry in February 2016 and purchased a failing dental practice with the help of his wife, who’s a petroleum engineer. Within 12 months, he doubled production, replaced terrible staff from the previous dentist, and saw 10 times as many new patients as the previous dentist. He loves to help other dentists learn to market themselves better.