Patients Often Need More Than a Weight Loss Solution—They Need a Financing Solution

| June 6, 2007

[press release]

Introduction

Weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass and bariatric banding typically costs between $15,000 to $30,000. Although a number of insurance companies cover these types of procedures, many individuals find it somewhat difficult to attain approval. In fact, a growing number of insurance companies require patients complete a rigorous and supervised diet and exercise routine prior to giving authorization. And even when authorization is granted, policies vary, with many offering expensive riders. This leaves the patient with an out-of-pocket expense ranging from $250 to $2000. For other patients, financial assistance from insurance is not even an option as millions of Americans find themselves uninsured. Rising health premiums continue to force more and more employers to either eliminate health benefits or require employees to bear some of the financial burden.

So how do patients secure the funds necessary to get the surgery they so desperately want and need? Consumer credit cards and cash savings are typically not an option as research has shown that the average American only has $300 available credit and cannot comfortably write a check for more than $500 out of their monthly budget. Patients can apply for loans, but this can be a very tedious, lengthy and discouraging experience, causing them to delay surgery. If no other options are offered by their doctor, paying for care can be one of patients’ biggest obstacles to weight loss.

As a value-added service and financing solution, many doctors now offer convenient monthly payment plans through companies such as CareCredit®, a division of GE Money. These plans can be used for deductibles, co-payment and any treatment not covered by insurance, including post operative services, counseling and nutritional supplies. Offering patients the ability to finance their procedures has been proven to benefit the patient and practice in many ways. Most importantly, helping patients attain financing makes it easier for them to get the surgery they want, when they want it and makes surgery accessible to a wider range of patients. For example, for a $15000 procedure, the patient’s monthly payment could be as low as $333, making surgery more affordable.

An Ideal Solution for Patients

With the leading program, CareCredit, there are no up front costs, annual fees or prepayment penalties. Patients can finance up to 100% of care through a wide range of No Interest or Low Interest extended payment plans, making it easy for them to fit payments into their monthly budget while leaving their consumer credit cards available for household or unplanned expenses. And they won’t be forced to seek loans or financing from multiple sources. One unique benefit is that CareCredit is a revolving line of credit, so patients can return for additional care as needed without having to reapply or worry about securing a financial resource.

An Easy-to-Use Solution for Practices

Offering third-party financing is quick and easy. Practices find when financing is offered during the consultation it helps motivate patients to start treatment now. In fact a study verified more than two-thirds of patients began treatment at the first practice they visited if offer financing1. Another benefit to offer patients this value-added service is practices no longer assume the risk of carrying tens of thousands of dollars in Accounts Receivable. With high approval rates and instantaneous credit decisions, offering financing is quick and easy and can significantly impact your bottomline. The same study found that practices offering CareCredit increased their gross annual revenue an average of 25.3%2. Once the surgery is scheduled and the financing company processes the fee, the payment is electronically transferred to the practice’s designated account within two business days, improving cash flow.

“CareCredit is very easy to use and we receive payment immediately. Plus, one of the biggest benefits to our patients is CareCredit’s fixed 11.9% interest rate, which keeps the monthly payments low and easy to handle.” —Toby Varghese, Administrator, Lap-Band Solutions

Today, doctors and their teams are developing programs to help patients not only address their emotional and psychological issues pre-and post-surgery, but also provide financing solutions as well, helping more begin the journey towards a healthier life.

1, 2 ADCPA Study, July 2005.

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