Using a check as form of payment has largely been replaced by debit and credit cards. Debit and credit cards are more convenient, they don’t run out, and you don’t have to pay to have new ones printed. Many businesses have even stopped accepting checks. But having a fully stocked checkbook may actually save consumers big money on their medical expenses.
The bill for my very first dental crown was due at the completion of the procedure. Two separate visits totaling 3 hours of poking, prodding and drilling left me with a total dentist bill of $1291. Luckily, my insurance brought the cost down significantly. My out of pocket bill was $317.10. The receptionist informed me they offered a discount if I paid with check or cash:
- 3% discount for bills under $300
- 8% discount if the bill due was $300 or greater
If I would have paid with cash or check, how much would I save:
- With my insurance adjusted bill, I would save 8% of 317.10, or $25.37.
- If I had no insurance coverage for dental crowns (not all policies cover crowns), I would save 8% of $1291, or $103.28!
My dental provider offers a discount when paying with cash or check because they don’t have to pay the processing fees associated with credit or debit cards. For smaller purchases, the inconvenience of carrying cash or a checkbook may not be worth saving a few pennies to consumers. But for large expenses, such as medical bills, the savings could be significant.
Unfortunately, since this was a medical related expense, I was planning to pay with my HSA debit card. My HSA gives me some sort of peace of mind and other options. The good news is, I did have choices making it possible to pay my dental bill with HSA funds and still get the cash or check discount:
- Reimbursement : HSAs normally have a process by which you can submit a reimbursement form for medical expenses paid with personal funds. I could have paid with my own personal cash or check, had the discount applied, and then requested to be reimbursed from my HSA.
- HSA Checks : Some HSAs offer multiple forms of payment options. My HSA allows me to have a debit card and/or checks that draw directly from my HSA. I currently only have the debit card, but given this experience I plan to request some checks to allow me take advantage of similar discounts without using personal funds.
The use of checks as a method of payment has dramatically decreased in recent years. But if a significant discount can be taken advantage of by using a check instead of a credit/debit card, maybe it’s not quite yet time to throw that checkbook away.
Do you still write checks? Have you come across any scenarios where you could get a significant discount by paying with cash or check?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock