Let’s face it, braces are not cheap. But, they are necessary — essential in some cases — to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Like a lot of things in life, a little investment up front will lead to a large reward in the form of fewer dental bills later in life. If possible, it’s great to save up for braces if you expect that you or your child will need them down the road. However, that is not always an option. If you find yourself wondering how on Earth you are ever going to afford braces, here are a few payment options for braces to consider:
Common Payment Options for Braces
As with many businesses, cash is king in the orthodontics world. While a large sum of cash is the most difficult type of payment to come up with on short notice, it can lead to a substantial discount if used.
The reason? Credit cards and other financing companies need to make money off of transactions, so they deduct a portion of the overall revenue from the transaction. Those fees do not apply to cash, and many businesses (including ours) pass that savings along to their patients. The same type of discount may also apply to writing a check since interest and fees are not involved.
2. Payment Plan
Along the same line, most orthodontists offer payment plans to help break up the cost of braces into more manageable chunks that are paid over the course of months or years. The financing office or front desk at your orthodontist will work with you to set up a payment plan that is specific to your treatment and budget.
If offered, an in-house payment plan is a great alternative to financing from a bank because the money is often paid back at little or no interest. You can pay off the cost of braces more quickly without giving up some of your hard-earned money toward an interest payment.
If you need help coming up with the money for a lump-sum cash payment or a payment plan, look no further than the Internet. No, really. Sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring allow you to set up a campaign for your specific need and financial goal.
After writing a little about how much money you need and what it will be used for, your story is posted to the crowdfunding site and you receive a link to share however you’d like. The more you share, the easier it will be to hit your target.
This is a great way to leverage the power of social media and ask others for financial help in a non-embarrassing way. You would never think of calling your second cousin in Florida to ask for money for braces for you or your child, but he or she might donate online if you post a GoFundMe link on Facebook or send an email to friends and family.
Many offices utilize the CareCredit platform to help patients finance braces and other large-scale dental expenses. CareCredit is a health care financing company that has been around for more than 30 years and is designed to cover the space between health insurance and credit cards.
Let’s say braces for your child $6,000 and your insurance is going to cover $2,000. That leaves $4,000 remaining for you to pay, a sum that might not be realistic for someone to put on their credit card. CareCredit would provide an installment plan for that amount with little or no down payment required.
Shorter-term plans are available with no interest required as long as the loan is repaid in two years or less. Payments can be made online just like you would any other loan or credit card.
5. Credit Card
Finally, if you have room on a credit card and don’t want to open another credit account, putting braces on a credit card is a quick way to get the service you need and sort out the details later. Many credit card companies offer refinancing or low-interest options for large purchases, so it may be worth asking before swiping the card at the orthodontist. There are also options like the Citi Health Card created specifically for medical expenses.
Paying for braces with a credit card can also be a way to maximize credit card reward points. For example, if you have an airline rewards credit card and know that you are going to be buying tickets soon, put braces on that card to earn a few extra frequent flier miles that could defray the cost of the ticket or allow for upgrades on the flight.
This approach works well as long as you pay off the credit card balance in full by its due date. If you are not able to do this, then something like CareCredit might be a better option so as not to incur interest.
No matter what payment options for braces you are considering, contact us today to discuss your options with our finance experts.