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Dental Patients Should Still View Care Credit as an Excellent Vehicle to use for Financing their Expenses
Recently CareCredit, a division of GE Capital, announced that it had agreed to refund $34.1 million in a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to resolve allegations that it misled patients about the terms of credit cards used to pay for medical and dental procedures. CareCredit is the largest issuer of medical and dental credit cards in the U.S., with about 4 million cardholders and 175,000 participating medical and dental offices.
The complaints are centered around the risky cards, which often come with an initial “teaser” interest rate of 0% that can late jump to as high as 26.99% if the amount owed is not paid off before the typical 6-24 month promotional period ends. CFPB objected to the inadequate disclosures CareCredit made when marketing these medical/dental cards, claiming that these cards often result in higher interest rates than traditional credit cards. Under the settlement, CareCredit must notify more than 1.2 million patients that they can file a reimbursement claim for excessive charges and fees.
I have been using CareCredit in my dental offices for over 10 years. We have been able to provide quality dentistry to our patients immediately and allow our patients to pay for the charges over an extended period of time. What we have done differently than most practices is the explanation and consulting we provide our patients prior to even applying for CareCredit.
We inform the patients of the first fact, which is that the doctor actually pays for the interest by having his fees reduced by CareCredit withholding approximately 9.9% of the patient’s initial charge. So if you pay $1000 for treatment, the doctor gets a reduced fee of around $900. Our dental office can justify this by the fact we get paid immediately and second, we don’t have to spend hours dealing with insurance companies arbitrary denials of treatment.
We also inform our patients that they MUST pay off the balance prior to their expiration date of they will incur large and clearly unethical and illegal charges. We encourage our patients to set an automatic withdrawal through their bank. This will guarantee that the balance is zero at the time of the expiration of their promotion.
CareCredit is an excellent way to get the dentistry you need today and pay for it tomorrow at a 0.0% rate, but steps must be taken to insure that you have the means to pay it off. Please contact us at Torrey Hills Dental (858.523.1330) if you have any questions about CareCredit.
Born and raised in San Diego, Dr. James Tasto attended University of San Diego High School where he lettered in both golf and wrestling. After earning a Bachelors in Science from Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Tasto graduated from University of Southern California Dental School with an emphasis on cosmetics and sports dentistry. Dr. James Tasto was selected by his peers to be included in the List of Top Dentists in San Diego for 2007 – 2013. He appeared in the May issue of San Diego Magazine. Dr. Tasto is also a member of D.O.C.S. (Doctors Offering Charitable Services), a local organization that offers medical services such as plastic surgery, vision and dental to the less fortunate patients in San Diego. Dr. Tasto currently resides in San Diego with his lovely wife Traci and their 3 children. He enjoys golf, beach volleyball and playing with his kids.