Do you struggle with bad or minimal credit? You’re certainly not alone, as was discovered in a 2015 study revealing that nearly 30% of Americans have unhealthy credit . To put that in perspective, that’s around 68 million people. Less-than-stellar credit can pose many challenges and hardships, namely, medical coverage. If you’ve tried to secure financing for medical expenses, you’ve likely tried to seek assistance from CareCredit. For those who aren’t familiar, CareCredit is a medical financing company that helps you pay for treatments, surgeries, and other usually unexpected medical expenses. With low, manageable monthly payments, customers can get the medical care they need without having to wait to save up cash. Essentially, it’s a credit card that helps you pay for your medical bills. However, like any credit card, you need to have a qualifying credit score to get approval. So, what happens if you’re denied by CareCredit? Do you have any alternatives that you can turn to? As it turns out, yes, you do. Maybe you’ve already applied for CareCredit and were rejected. Or, you were going to apply but you’re doubtful you’ll get approved. That’s where we come in. We tasked our experts here at Seek Capital to research the top alternatives for your consideration. As you will soon learn, you have plenty of options that may be able to help you in your search for medical financial assistance.
As a SaaS-based provider, ClearGage is a financial service that assists with healthcare payments. Many healthcare professionals utilize ClearGage to streamline their payment management. Aside from offering a financing option for customers’ healthcare expenses, ClearGage also features a robust payment suite that can be used by healthcare professionals to more easily collect payments based on their practice’s model. By leveraging ClearGage’s payment solutions, medical providers can enjoy a more efficient and effective payment process. Patients who wish to take advantage of ClearGage must first locate a practice that offers this service. Unlike CareCredit where customers sign up for and pay off a medical credit card, all payment arrangements are established through the practice. Once the patient pays the agreed percentage of their medical expenses, ClearGage will pay the remaining balance to the medical provider. This ensures that medical practices receive the payments for services rendered before the patient pays it off in full. If the patient defaults on their payments, their remaining balance will be handled like any other collections process. ClearGage is unique in that they work with providers regarding defaulted payments better than most other financing organizations. Customer service appears to be honorable and tries to resolve any issues between the provider and the patient so that payments are met. If you are interested in ClearGage, you will need to have your medical provider contact ClearGage to set up a payment agreement. Once established, you can make payments via most major credit cards, e-checks, or directly through your bank account. Please be aware that a soft credit check is performed on all customers seeking payment services through ClearGage.
One of the biggest complaints customers have when seeking financing through these types of services is the stringent credit approvals. Not everyone can afford to have their credit checked each time they inquire about assistance. With iCare, customers don’t have to worry about this, as there are no credit checks involved. As such, all patients are approved without the need for a credit check. The other major appeal here is that iCare claims that they will pay the medical provider on time, even if the patient has defaulted on their agreed payments. Similar to ClearGage, iCare customers must first get approval to use this service through their medical provider. Once approved, a manageable monthly payment arrangement will be established that the patient agrees to pay. This allows patients to get the medical care they need when they can’t afford to pay for their medical services all at once. What’s more, some financing services may only cover dental or medical. But iCare covers general dentistry, veterinary, and medical care. Patients can’t directly set up a payment plan with iCare. They will first need to have their medical provider contact iCare to agree to their services. It’s important to note that some providers have complained about not receiving on-time payments from iCare when patients have defaulted. According to their business model, iCare assures that the medical provider will always receive timely payments. Unfortunately, this appears to be hit-or-miss.
Denefits is another provider-centered financing service that promises to continue paying the medical provider in the event that the patient defaults on their payment arrangement. To take advantage of Denefits’ services, patients must first find a medical provider that uses Denefits as a payment option. Once established, patients can work out a payment arrangement with their medical provider. Covering a wide variety of procedures, Denefits is an alternative to CareCredit that patients may be interested in if they can’t afford to pay for their medical treatment all at once. If you are concerned with your credit getting dinged every time it is checked, you will appreciate Denefits’ no credit check policy. As such, everyone is approved for Denefits’ services without the need for a credit check. The big appeal here is for providers. When a patient defaults on their agreed payment arrangement, Denefits will pick up the slack and make sure the provider is paid – or so they claim. Unfortunately, there has been some conflict between more than a handful of medical providers and Denefits. Claims of unpaid payments, delays, poor customer service, and more currently plague Denefits on the Better Business Bureau’s website. For the providers who say it works, they seem to be very pleased with what Denefits brings to the table. It doesn’t appear that patients have anything to worry about as long as they make their payments on time. Anything to the contrary will be handled like any other collections process.
It’s not exactly a state secret that many medical financing companies fail to provide their customers with adequate information about their plans and services. What’s more, many customers are led to believe that they are signing up for an interest-free payment arrangement when that is simply not the case. Although it appears as if a financing company solely acts as a middleman for establishing payment arrangements, it’s important to remember that they are in this business primarily to make money, and make money they do. Payments are often accompanied by deferred interest plans that tack on more charges to the customer. And if you happen to miss a payment – or default entirely – you can expect to be contacted repeatedly until the payments are resolved. Some customers have even had unnecessary medical care offered to them after signing up for financing. Upon deeper inspection, the medical care offered was one that the financing organization specifically financed. If you want to avoid these potential issues, it’s best to try working out a payment arrangement with your medical provider directly. Many offices are willing to allow you to make timely payments in the event that you cannot pay for your medical care all at once. If this isn’t a possibility, consider inquiring about charity organizations. You may also find assistance through your state that is willing to help you cover your medical expenses. You might be surprised to learn just how much help is available in your area. If your credit is good , you may want to think about signing up for either a low interest credit card or a high limit credit card that you can use to pay for your treatment. Just make sure that the credit card you are signing up for doesn’t include any hidden fees, and that the limits they offer are high enough to cover your costs. Alternatively, a medical loan through a lender could allow you to get the medical care you need. Different from a medical credit card, you would make payments on a loan through agreed installments, giving you some breathing room in the process. Companies that offer medical loans typically work with specific health care organizations, so you will need to establish ahead of time that you can get the care you need via your medical loan.
Before you sign up for any service, always take the time to carefully research their terms of service. One of the biggest mistakes customers make is to take an ad at face value, thinking they’re getting a great bargain with straightforward monthly payments. This is often the reason customers default on their payments, as they later learn that there are interest fees and other hidden terms that weren’t communicated prior to signing up. And once deferred interest rates kick in, patients are quick to discover that they are paying more for their medical care than what it’s worth. As long as you research the organization you are signing up with and understand its terms, you shouldn’t have to worry about surprises or fees and can get the medical care you need without issue. Sources https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/improving-credit/how-to-fix-a-bad-credit-score/ https://www.avma.org/ https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/score/what-is-a-good-credit-score/