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Wednesday
Mar172010

Care Credit Tightening Their Belt

Well, here we go again! Care Credit is trimming the fat again cutting available financing funds to anyone who is not a dermatologist or plastic surgeon (when it comes to non-dental aesthetic procedures). First they limited non-core physicians who didn't meet certain practice criteria, now this!

Awhile back I posted on Care Credit and a follow up post on the difficulties we have been experiencing when trying to obtain financing for our patients. A good friend and colleague, Dr. Alex Covey tipped me off with an email that he received a letter limiting available funds to only $3,000. Your patient can be approved for $8,000, but can only spend $3,000 of it at your practice. This is totally not conducive to a practice such as ours when 80-90% of what we do is laser lipo, ultrasound lipo or water-jet lipo. Sure enough, we received the letter (note both of our practices are owned and operated by internists performing 100% aesthetic procedures, 100% of the time, and on-site 100% of the time).

The only way we can be reinstated is if our physician becomes a Fellow of an organization who, unfortunately, will not accept an Internist as a Fellow to begin with.

After arguing and pleading our case extensively with the folks at Care Credit, their criteria is set in stone always quoting their higher up corporate folks as the culprits. Perhaps their decision makers are in bed with RealSelf (sorry, I still hold a grudge there too)? Regardless, it's hugely discriminatory and insulting.

Not that we're not used to blows like this in our highly competitive industry, but it just gets exhausting to have to keep dodging roadblocks that are continually put in our way for absolutely no valid reason whatsoever.

So, anyone know a good finance company that's "color blind"?

Reader Comments (14)

I did not receive this letter yet? how long ago did this get sent? i will follow up in search of knowledge/reasoning?

03.22 | Unregistered Commentermedsparn

Chase Healthcare finance is the best for us. I gladly parted ways with Care Credit more than a year ago . There is a bunch of other companies out there. Given enough time CC will realise their blunder. I'll just probably never go back to them.

03.22 | Unregistered CommenterClement

Hey Paula,

Have you tried SurgeryLoans.com? We haven't had any problems with Care Credit (knock on wood) because the Dr. is a Surgeon, though not a Plastic one. However, usually I end up recommending SurgeryLoans.com first for our patients simply because of the fact they take lower credit scores and the fees we have to pay is much less than Care Credit. Pretty much everyone qualifies. For example, we had one patient who had filed a bankruptcy within the last five years and she was still approved. Our one patient who didn't qualify ended up adding a friend as a co-signer and then she qualified. The only snag with this company is that the lower the patients credit, the higher the interest rate the patient pays. But then this can also be a plus because sometimes if the fees for the patients are a bit higher, they seem to figure out a way to pay on their own without getting a loan. We had one patient end up paying with 6 credit cards rather than sign up for Surgeryloans.com.

Don't fret Paula, I believe you just need to look around and you can find some alternate solutions that will probably work better for you then Care Credit.

Good luck,

- Wendy Hovorka

03.25 | Unregistered Commenterwendyh

Thanks so much Wendy! Yes, we have them too as well as Chase Health Advance and MyMedicalLoan.com. All seem to be approving less and less patients or are hitting them with exceptionally high interest rates.

Thanks for your response! - Paula

Six credit cards!!! I wonder what her interest will be in the end when she only makes the minimum payment on all of those. The problem starts with people buying services and surgeries they really can't afford. Then the patient default on their payments, file bankruptcy, etc. Why does anyone think Care Credit and these other companies have more stringent guidelines?

To Whatever happened.. -

I knew someone would rightfully "fly off the handle" right after I posted and pressed enter on my keyboard and it is my fault for not explaining myself better. You are assuming that if a patient is paying for liposuction with 6 credit credit cards, he/she cannot afford liposuction and is fiscally irresponsible. However, this patient paid with 6 credit cards temporarily, and the following two weeks when her income tax refund came in, she paid those credit cards off in full. Also, the patient that had filed bankruptcy, was a patient with previous good credit, whose ex husband had filed a business bankruptcy but surgeryloans.com felt she was a good credit risk with her previous credit history. If a patient had any kind of history what so ever of defaulting on their payments, Care Credit ( nor any other lending institution that I know off) would NEVER give them any credit. You are asking why people think Care Credit has more stringent guidelines? The answer is because they require patients to have a good credit score and you have to have low debt to income ratio. Also, with our current economy and the 2009 credit card changes, Care Credit has tightened their already tough guidelines for handing out credit. I believe these are the main reasons why Paula is unable to get additional financing as she more easily obtained previously for her business. If your credit cards are all maxed and you are in forclosure, Care Credit will not approve your application. This is probably why they are still in business, unlike Capitall One. I know this because this is my job and what I do all day after marketing and consulting with patients, is to call these companies to see if my patients can get their financing. Most patients are good, upstanding and responsible citizens who save up for their surgeries and then pay in cash or debit cards. Then there are others who usually put at least half the amount down then finance the rest. Companies other than Care Credit, like Surgeryloans.com will loan out money to people with a lower credit score. But like I wrote to Paula earlier and I am sure she already knows, a patient often needs a co-signer with good credit for this to happen.

Personally, I believe in leaving it up to Banks and Financial institutions to determine who of my patients has a good credit history and will most likely be able to afford and pay for surgery. I am not in the banking industry and cannot analyze within two minutes an accurate picture of someones assets and liabilities from their credit application to determine if they qualify for a loan. I know I wouldn't like it if someone at a doctor's office told me I was fiscally irresponsible or try to judge and decide for me what they think is best. Nor would I tell my patients this. I do, however, have criteria for weeding patients out that are not good candidates for a procedure (but that's another story that I can tell you later if you are interested :) Sudden and excessive spending would be one of them. My patients are all adults and responsible for making their own decisions and I basically treat them they way I would want to be treated.

-Wendy Hovorka

03.29 | Unregistered Commenterwendyh

i am glad that care credit is tightening their belts! it is too easy to go to a med-spa and get bad service that you can't hardley do anything about! i am trying to tighten legislation on anyone doing lipo and other "surgery" procedures that is not a board certified plastic surgeon in good standing with their state. i PAID an arrogant "MD" $6000. to DEFORM me for life!!! she had the nerve to yell at me for blogging about my experience and accepts ZERO responsibility for what was done! i am in touch with local television stations to warn others of what can happen at the med-spa...look for me to air soon on a station near you!

That's great you are taking action and standing up for something you believe in. Also, I completely understand your pain having been to a medi-spa years ago and suffered some serious complications myself. (and have also been to many good ones) But just keep in mind, that it was actually a dermatologist who invented liposuction, not a plastic surgeon. Also, a few years ago when the laser came out, you couldn't find a plastic surgeon in the states who didn't claim that lasers were "hype" and "only a gimmick," but now these same surgeons are touting the benefits of laser assisted liposuction. In addition there are many research abstracts written by BOTH plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists that proof that laser works. The sad reality is that you can just as easily go to a medi-spa and get "chopped up" as easily as you can a plastic surgeons office. The key is doing your research, getting recomendations from others, look the docs up on www.ratemd.com , etc...

03.29 | Unregistered Commenterwendyh

We are nationwide patient financing brokers- we have several sources of money (including CareCredit and Chase as well as many other well know financing partners and a couple of private money groups that are exclusive to our company). We help our client practices by taking the financing part our of their hands. We use one universal credit application to get offers from all our financing partners with the average client getting 4-6 offers typically for 100% financing and NO CHARGE TO THE DOCTOR OR PRACTICE.

Most of our financing partners work the old fashion way- they charge interest on the money the borrower (patient) borrows and do not charge the doctor/practice. Why is charging the doctor/practice if the patient needs financing acceptable? That would be like the bank telling Ford or Toyota they have to pay the bank money for everyone person that wants to finance a car, how silly is that? Yet in the medical field its accepted. Do you think the lure of 0% financing was the reason the patient walked into your practice? Or do you think it was some emotional reason or the practice/doctor’s credentials or the before/after results achieve by your patients that brought them in? I believe there is not one patient that said” Wow 0% interest, time to get a facelift or liposuction” they came in because they saw something in your practice that said “maybe these people can help me with this issue.” Since that was the case why not give them a financing partner that can give them the best chance at getting the procedure done, isn’t that what they really want?

It seems that freelance clinics are taking a hard hit because some of them are not covered by these new affiliations. But I look for them to partner and form an association to join the national association.
chiropractor

08.9 | Unregistered CommenterStefano

Most Americans don't know anything about credit reports and credit scores, even though they can gt a free credit report every year - and don't care. So long as they can get a car loan or a credit card then everything is OK and there is no reason to inquire any further. That idyllic attitude may soon clash harshly with reality as the nation's lenders tighten their belts and become more selective about whom they will loan money to - for any reason.

Well, here we go again! This time Chase Health Advance is pulling out of the Aesthetic financing business. We were told our patients have until April 1st to use their already approved funds.

You can't repo a face lift, therefore, CASH in advance. I once had a young girl who wanted some hair removed. There was not much per sq.inch but it covered a large area, consequently, it would take multiple visits. She went from office to office and had one treatment in each place and never paid for any of them.

04.1 | Unregistered Commenterlefty2g

Just in case anyone needs to fill out Universal Credit Application form, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/krNspf. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related forms that you might find useful.

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