G&F Financial Group Partners with BC Firm to Ease the Bite of Costly Dental Bills

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50 Per Cent Avoid Dental Treatment - Increasing Dental Costs One of the Reasons

G&F Financial Group, a Lower Mainland based credit union, has partnered with PatientLink Healthcare Plans, a California and B.C. based health care firm, to help British Columbians manage the increasing costs of dental care.

Under the partnership, PatientLink and G&F Financial Group are now providing a B.C. based financing program to benefit both dentists and their patients. Dentists are guaranteed immediate payment, while patients get quick financing to pay for expensive dental procedures that may not be covered by insurance due to policy restrictions and limitations.

The only dental financing program designed and managed by dentists in Canada, the PatientLink Plan provides loans up to $50,000 and includes fast credit approvals and low fixed interest rates starting at 9.9 per cent. The plan covers all procedures over $2,500 such as orthodontic and cosmetic work, dentures, root canals and dental implants. Patients are able to pay over a period ranging from six months to fix years and can pay off the loan at any time without penalty.

Dr. Edward Lowe, a PatientLink partner who heads the West End Dental Centre in Vancouver notes, "Since the time we launched the program back in 2000, dramatic advances in dental technology have continued to drive up the cost of delivering dental care, while basic dental insurance has not kept pace."

PatientLink was started ten years ago by a group of Vancouver dentists who were surprised to discover that twenty per cent of their patients were not getting the dental procedures they needed due to money concerns. "We look forward to continuing to expand our program with a local community focused financial partner like G&F and in combining our resources to assist B.C. patients in accessing the treatment they need and want," says Dr. Doug Liu, a PatientLink founding partner and partner at Broadway Station Dental Centre.

Market research gathered by PatientLink shows that another 30 per cent don't even visit the dentist - cost being one of the reasons. "In a tough economy, expensive dental procedures can fall low on the priority list pretty quickly. It's common for patients to use high interest loans or credit cards to pay dental bills or avoid the dentist altogether, which can have greater health implications," Dr. Lowe says.

PatientLink also benefits dentists who may have trouble collecting for procedures. Many dentists will accept post-dated cheques in lieu of insurance coverage, which can turn into an administrative nightmare and financial liability. "Statics show that five per cent of dentists' invoices never get paid," Dr. Lowe says. "Most dentists don't have the time or resources for aggressive credit collections. This not only compromises their practice, but the patients themselves, who may be reluctant to return for follow up or future treatment."

The partnership will see G&F Financial Group provide patient financing to PatientLink clients. Credit applications are reviewed immediately with local customer support provided by G&F Financial Group. "Consumers are increasingly turning to the convenience of point of service financing alternatives and we are excited to partner with PatientLink to provide this unique loan solution" says Richard Davies, Chief Executive Officer of G&F.

G&F Financial Group is a Burnaby based credit union with 12 branches throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and Richmond. Founded in 1940, G&F Financial Group is guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility and to improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

PatientLink Healthcare Plans Inc. is a health care services company that provides dental and medical value-fee plans and health care financial services to thousands of consumers and employers across Canada and the United States. The PatientLink offering is a combination of consumer and employer programs offering patients access to quality health care services both on a direct customer representative base or online via the http://www.patientlinkfinance.com website. PatientLink Finance Service Centres are located in Vancouver B.C. Canada and Irvine, CA USA.

For more information please contact:
Media Contact - PatientLink Finance Inc.
Carla Rankel
Vice President, Member Services
tel: 604.551.5551 email: crankel(at)patientlinkfinance(dot)com

Media Contact - G&F Financial Group
Jeff Shewfelt
Vice President, Sales & Service
tel: 604.517.5100

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