When we think of going to the dentists, two things usually come to mind instantly – the pain and the cost. News in 2016 even claimed that almost one-third of Australian adults forego and neglect to visit the dentist because of the appointment cost. This just shows that dental procedures are really expensive. Here is a brief summary of dental payment plans Australia has and what factors should we consider when choosing one.
What are dental payment plans?
Dental payment plans are formal contracts patients have with third-party financial companies made to shoulder their dental costs conveniently. A dental payment plan is a way for patients to make their dental fees affordable by spreading the total cost into a specific number of instalments, much like how a credit card works.
How is a dental payment plan different from other payment schemes?
There are other ways to pay for your dental procedures. One, you can pay your dentists directly. By doing so, your dentist may give you discounts when you pay upfront. Another option is to use your health insurance IF you have dental coverage, or use a separate dental health insurance plan. Although most insurance companies give benefit limits per procedure, it would surely help in managing your dental finances.
Oftentimes, those who have dental insurance coverage would still have to pay significant out-of-pocket expenses especially for complicated and more expensive treatments like cosmetic or orthodontic procedures. You can still opt to arrange a dental financing scheme with a third party company (under a dental payment plan) so that paying for this is made more comfortable for you.
Things to consider when getting dental payment plans
Consult your dentist. Your dentist should know what finance company you are using and if he is willing to accept payment from them. Why? Because they would also pay the finance company a specific percentage for their services. Yes! Your dentist may opt for this setup where he gets the full payment of your procedure (minus the service fees of the third party finance company) within a few days. This setup is a huge difference than having to wait for months with dental insurance coverage.
Furthermore, your agreement about the instalments does not affect him at all, so whether your contract states that your dental cost will be spread out to 6 monthly payments with or without interest, your dentist will have no say nor care about it whatsoever since he still gets your payment in full anyway.
Check interest rates. This is how insurance and financial companies make money. While some would offer 0% interest on a fixed term, most dental payment plans may have higher interest rates than regular credit cards, so checking their proposed plans and their accompanying interest rates is essential.
Inquire about payment penalties. Late payments would incur an additional charge on top of your monthly fee as a penalty. On the contrary, there may also be a penalty if you want to pay for your dental loan earlier because financial companies see this as a way to steer away from interests. If you can find a dental payment plan that gives you the freedom from these payment penalties, that plan is ideal.
Ask about credit checks. If you have a poor credit history, it may be difficult for you to get dental payment plans from third-party finance companies that check your credit history.
Armed with this information, we can have the power to pay for our dental procedures conveniently and affordably. If you think dental payment plans will help you on your journey to that beautiful smile, the next step is to search for the ideal dentist who offers those payment plans. Don’t forget to ask about the payment plan conditions so you can find an agreement that suits you best.