In this edition of Friday Focus, Dr. O El-Hillal of E&S Orthodontics, your Phoenix Orthodontist, discusses in depth how some orthodontists hide fees in your Orthodontic Contract.
If you see an ad that says “only $99 DOWN to start treatment”, beware the specter of hidden fees. You may be signing up for an open-ended contract that can cost you big time in the end.
The question is, what is the ultimate goal of your treatment costs? If you are set up to pay $99 a month for a braces treatment plan that costs $4000, that works out to 40 months (close to 3-1/2 to 4 years) of treatments.
$99 a month may fit your budget, but you have to balance out whether you want to be in a prolonged contract where the orthodontic office is compelled to bring you in on a monthly basis (whether you need it or not) just so they can get your $99 payment.
This scenario happens quite frequently and it’s a sneaky trick any patient could fall for if they don’t ask the right questions up front.
Then there are orthodontic practices that will say. . .“You ran over your treatment time”. . .which translates into “We need to charge you more money.”
What happens is the orthodontist might estimate that your treatment time will be two years. If the results promised in the plan take more than two years – for any reason – then they will start charging you on a monthly basis until your treatment is complete.
It’s a hidden cost you have to watch out for. Sometimes you think you are getting a really good deal only to find out you have gone over your estimated treatment time by four to five months due to “your lack of cooperation”. You may have missed a couple of appointments, thinking it’s not a problem, and then all of a sudden you’re occurring extra costs at the tail end of your treatment plan.
Orthodontic treatment contracts take many different forms. Sometimes a contract is set up by “length of treatment” as a way to break costs down. You may be charged for 12 months of treatment vs. 18 months of treatment, or something like 24 or 36 months.
I think this model is slowly fading away. With all of the new advances in treatment technology you’re really starting to pay for results vs. the length of treatment. This is not a big factor anymore, at least not in our results-oriented office.
At E&S Orthodontics, you are paying for our services to give you the desired end result. Our contracts are set up that way. If we estimate that your treatment plan will take 24 months to achieve and we can’t deliver that in 30 months, there’s no additional charge.
Our patients always know, up front, what their treatment plan is going to cost. Plus we offer a variety of payment plans to make every plan more affordable and within budget.
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatments, we invite you to drop us a line or give our office a call.