One devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rapid surge in unemployment, which is at its highest level in more than 70 years. With more Americans out of work and paychecks slashed, you’d think demand for aesthetic treatments would dwindle, but similar to “The Lipstick Effect” during the 2008 recession (lipstick sales remained high despite economic fallout), in-office procedures are booming, and most aren’t covered by insurance.
To bridge the gap, more patients are relying on financing options, like CareCredit and PatientFi. “Following the moratorium on elective surgery, we experienced unprecedented demand,” says Scott Jorgensen, president of PatientFi. “Clearly, there was a significant, pent-up demand from patients, and many of them who were previously planning to pay with a credit card switched to one of our friendly payment plan options. With looming economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19, patients are prioritizing their cash and don’t want to deplete their savings, so they are taking full advantage of monthly payment plans.”
Jill Frattallone, general manager of CareCredit Specialty-Cosmetic, Spa and Retail Pharmacy, says CareCredit is experiencing a similar uptick. “We have seen a strong recovery and positive growth trend as providers have opened back up. In addition to pent-up demand, we’re attributing the rise to increased awareness of need due to patients seeing themselves more in video calls, increased funds due to canceled vacations and camps, as well as many patients working from home, which gives them time to recover from procedures.”
To find out whether your doctor offers one of these options, call their office or check their website before booking your appointment. Here are some specifics on each one:
Jorgensen says patients can apply online, at home or in their provider’s office and receive an instant approval decision with no hard credit check. “Our payment plan options reward patients for paying off early with 0 percent interest rates, and our terms are clear and transparent,” he adds.
Newport Beach, CA plastic surgeon Sean Kelishadi, MD says PatientFi has been a great asset during this time of unprecedented uncertainty. “It is easy to use, doesn’t impact the applicant’s credit score and allows them the flexibility of keeping their cash reserves intact while still being able to pursue their plastic surgery goals.”
According to Hasha Zangana, assistant vice president of CareCredit Client Marketing-Cosmetic, CareCredit differs from a regular credit card by offering promotional financing options that fit into patients’ monthly budgets, giving them a way to pay over time with convenient monthly payments. “CareCredit is accepted by more than 240,000 providers across the nation in health, wellness and beauty categories for services including cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, dermatologic care, spa services, minimally invasive procedures (like Botox Cosmetic, lip fillers, CoolSculpting and laser hair removal), skin-care products, dental services, LASIK and additional out-of-pocket expenses not covered by medical insurance,” she explains.
With shorter-term financing options of six, 12, 18 or 24 months, no interest is charged on purchases of $200 or more when cardholders make minimum monthly payments and pay the full amount due by the end of the promotional period.