Accessing the money needed to pay for dental or orthodontic work can be tricky. Insurance often doesn’t cover certain procedures, leaving patients to find alternative ways to cover the cost, such as dental loans, and a lot of questions.
You may think that having bad credit can disqualify you from receiving a loan for the dental care you want or need, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are plenty of practices—our own included—that work with members of the community who have poor credit and are in need of financing. Whether your credit is consistently stellar or leaves something to be desired, there are options that can help you get the treatment you’re looking for.
Secured and Unsecured Personal Loans
While most dental loans are dependent on credit, secured loans offer those with bad credit a way to affordably pay for their dental implants. In a secured loan, something with value that belongs to the person receiving the loan, such as a car or house, is put up as collateral against the loan. This means that the lender could repossess those items if the loan becomes delinquent. Reducing the risk for the lender allows the borrower to apply for more money with a better chance of qualifying.
Adversely, an unsecured loan is not connected to any collateral. If the borrower becomes delinquent on an unsecured loan, the lender won’t have anything to repossess; instead, they will hire a collection agency to try and get the money from the borrower. Since an unsecured loan puts a lender at more risk, they are usually more difficult to qualify for with bad credit.
Set Up a Payment Plan with your Dentist
Most dental practices offer some kind of payment plan for their patients, including our own. They know that they are there to serve community members of all backgrounds and will usually work with you to design the best plan for both parties involved. The plans can vary from in-house offers to partnerships with third-party dental financing companies, some of which don’t require a credit-check or charge interest.
Use a Credit Card
Credit cards are another option to those looking for resources to help finance dental work. Each credit card is different and some allow credit scores as low as 550. You’ll have to do research to find the right one, however, a lower credit score often comes with higher interest charges.
Some cards are specific to healthcare costs, even dental costs. Using a dental credit card has both its advantages and disadvantages. Monthly payments tend to be small, but dental cards have a high APR, meaning that the many years it takes to pay off the procedure will probably cost you a lot in interest payments. On the plus side, making these payments regularly will be reported to the credit bureau, which could end up improving your score.
One medical card called Care Credit charges no interest on short financing terms, usually six to 24 months, and is worth exploring. Rebol Family Dentistry has a partnership with Care Credit, meaning we work with them to offer greater financing options to our patients.
Flexible Spending Account
Another option popular with people is to use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). This is a certain type of benefit for employers that usually comes in a company insurance package. To use an FSA, you simply write a check from your FSA or use an FSA debit card. Money is then deducted from your paycheck throughout the year to pay it off.
There are plenty of ways that a person with bad credit can still access the dental procedures they need, and even more reasons why you should be proactive in taking care of your oral health. We would also like to remind those without full insurance coverage that dental insurance costs less than health insurance and is readily accessible. Consider signing up to receive benefits and decreased regular visits on top of help with specialty procedures.
If you have questions about Rebol Family Dentistry’s financing options, please contact us or set up an appointment. We are happy to discuss your individual needs with you to find what works best.