Which Are the Top Alternatives to Medical Credit Cards?
Healthcare costs in the U.S. are skyrocketing. As per a recent report, out-of-pocket spending is estimated to hit $491.6 billion, $1,650 per person, by 2026. Hence, the financial burden is undeniable. Medical credit cards like CareCredit became popular as an alternative to managing medical bills.
But are they the best option for your patients?
In this blog, learn what these cards are and the challenges they pose for patients. Also, explore superior alternatives to medical credit cards to enhance patient access to care.
Find out how you can contribute to an improved patient experience by embracing alternatives to medical credit cards.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL CREDIT CARDS?
These credit cards help patients pay for medical procedures. These are among the top alternative financing options to traditional health insurance.
Patients can use these to pay for dental care, medical procedures, and even cosmetic surgery. However, they also put your patients at financial risk, which often leads to negative experiences.
Moreover, these cards raise regulatory concerns about deceptive lending practices that trap patients in medical debt.
As per a 2022 report, 100 million people in America (including 41% of adults) struggled with medical debt. So, healthcare providers need to explore better alternatives to medical credit cards to alleviate the burden on patients.
DISADVANTAGES OF MEDICAL CREDIT CARDS
Medical credit card providers do not allow for flexible repayment. Hence, if patients fail to pay back on time, they accumulate medical debt. Though providers get paid, patients may avoid return visits due to financial strain.
High credit score requirements
Patients need a score of 620 or above to qualify for medical credit cards. Thus, access to healthcare becomes limited for patients with low credit scores.
Companies like CareCredit may charge high interest. It adds to patients’ overall healthcare costs. Therefore, many patients may delay care unless it is a life-or-death situation.
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ALTERNATIVES TO MEDICAL CREDIT CARDS
These cards are great for short-term financing for medical expenses. However, there are superior alternative financing options that can help improve healthcare access for your patients.
Afterpay is a popular "Buy Now, Pay Later" service that allows patients to split their medical bills. It allows them to pay in four equal, interest-free installments within four to six weeks. Patients pay 25% upfront and the rest within the specified period.
Here's how Afterpay benefits healthcare providers:
- Get Paid Faster: With Afterpay, you'll get your money quicker—within days—minus the Afterpay fee.
- Less Risk: Worried about chargebacks or fraud? Afterpay takes care of these risks so you can focus on your work.
- Not suitable for patients with long-term financing needs
- May not approve all patients
As a unique payment plan software, Credee lets you instantly set up payment plans tailored to your patient's needs. It takes care of everything, from payment reminders to collections.
Its ‘No Credit Check’ policy helps extend healthcare access to patients regardless of their credit scores. Additionally, it offers a range of powerful features and benefits.
Advantages of integrating Credee:
- Quick approval process
- 97% approval rate
- Offers protected payments, i.e., no risk of missed payments
- Web connect and API integration
- Automated monitoring of payments
- Cannot make payment plans under $300
Sunbit is a payment solution similar to Credee. It helps healthcare providers create affordable payment plans for patients. No minimum credit score requirements exist to qualify, but a soft credit check is usually required.
Advantages of Sunbit:
- Simple and quick application process
- Flexible plans tailored to patient’s budget
- Reasonable contract terms
- 90% approval rate
- No hard credit inquiry
- Not suitable for significantly high medical bills.
- Interest may be high for patients with low credit scores.
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COMPARISON BETWEEN MEDICAL CREDIT CARDS AND THEIR ALTERNATIVES
|Medical Credit Cards||Afterpay||Credee||Sunbit|
|Interest Rates||High||0% APR (Limited Promo Period)||Low||Varies|
|Credit Check Required||Yes (a credit score of 620 or better is accepted)||No||No||Soft Credit Check|
|Approval Rate||<60%||Approx. 70% or Less||97%||Approx. 90%|
|Application Process||Lengthy (7–10 days or more)||Quick Approval||Instant Approval & Easy Process||Quick Approval|
|Service Duration||6–36 Months||4–6 Weeks||3–48 Months||6–72 Months|
|Limitations||Requires high credit scores|
|Not suitable for long-term financing|
May not approve all patients
|Cannot provide payment plans under $300||High interest for patients with low credit scores|
Not ideal for large medical bills
Most patients think using medical credit cards for healthcare expenses is their best option. But, due to regulatory scrutiny and credit score issues, they are not meant for everyone. As a healthcare provider, explore alternatives to medical credit cards like Afterpay, Credee, and Sunbit to help your patients.
However, Credee payment plan software stands out of all the options. It enables you to provide patients with the care they deserve without financial barriers. Hence, you can enhance patient satisfaction and foster stronger patient-provider relationships.