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Untethering Choice and Access in Dental Care Financing

Article

Opy USA seeks to help break the age-old mold for patients and providers.

Untethering Choice and Access in Dental Care Financing

PROSTOCK-STUDIO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

In 2022, it will be possible for dentists in the United States to offer patients a financing option that can reduce their cost of healthcare. As the costs of almost all goods and services are on the rise and pandemic-related business interruptions are constant pain points, reducing costs while offering a fair payment solution is good news for dental practitioners needing to stay competitive.

But like any change, it will require dental and other healthcare providers to make a few reasonable adjustments. By adopting a new approach to patient financing, we can untether patients' access to more affordable care financing.

A Free Market Axiom

When customers can choose, products and services improve and become more affordable. It's as axiomatic as the relationship between price and demand. Unfortunately, healthcare financing, particularly dental, has traditionally offered limited choices for patients.

Medical Lending Technology

The traditional healthcare financing approach utilizes deferred interest products with low teaser rates. The problem is, when a patient misses a payment, pays late, or doesn't meet a payment minimum, compounding interest can make the balance due jump dramatically; therefore, the monthly payment due is suddenly much higher as well. These fees can pile up into unexpected debt that can grow if the patient is a day late or a dollar short.

Often these crucial details that help patients understand the total cost of financing are in the fine print of agreements, and deferred interest, even when disclosed, can lead to a balloon payment that hits them at the end of the loan.

Opy sets out to challenge that paradigm and make financing fair, transparent, and predictable for both the healthcare provider and the patient. OpyPay provides the most flexible installment plans in the market, and is expanding into new industries where the company can make a real difference, particularly dental and orthodontics, home improvement, healthcare, auto repair/service and more.

A Better Way to Pay for Healthcare

Innovation is the key to getting ahead. New players deploy solutions developed with aggregate partnerships that make flat, fixed fee financing precise, affordable, and systemically possible. The models used to estimate losses must be precise to ensure the lender sets the correct fixed price. Too low, and they risk insolvency, too high, and they're no better than the traditional high-interest rate lenders. Still, this requires volume and precision, and importance cannot be achieved by word of mouth or one entity at a time.

A New Player with a New Model

With Opy's recent announcements with American Express and Patient Now, the promise to combine a fixed, flat fee financing at scale across the United States has arrived. The tools and volume to get it right have been combined to offer Americans fair, reasonable, and transparent healthcare and dental financing options. Adopting new technologies and processes is a constant challenge for any business, as it has been for decades, but affordability comes with scale. As physicist William Pollard famously said, "Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow."

The author is the US CEO & Global Chief Strategy Officer for Opy and a 32-year veteran of the payments and fintech advisory industry. He joined Opy from Deloitte, where he founded and grew the firm’s globally top-ranked payments practice.

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