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Feb 27: Vancity Partners with Hight Tech Firm

Vancity Partners with High Tech Firm to Ease the Bite of Dental Bills

50 per cent avoid dental treatment - cost one of the reasons

Vancouver, February 27, 2002 - The Vancity Group of Companies has partnered with B3Dental, a California and BC e-commerce firm, to help Canadians manage the cost of dental care.

Under the partnership, B3Dental and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union and its subsidiary, Citizens Bank of Canada, are now providing a new 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 recognized by insurance due to policy restrictions and limitations.

The only dental financing program in Canada, the PatientLink plan provides loans up to $25,000 and includes fast credit approvals and low fixed interest rates starting at 9.9 per cent.

The plan covers all procedures over $2,000, such as dentures, root canals, dental implants, orthodontic and cosmetic work. Patients are able to pay over a period ranging from six months to five years and can pay off the loan at any time without penalty.

"Over the past decade, dramatic advances in dental technology have driven up the cost of delivering dental care, but basic dental coverage hasn't kept pace," says Dr. Edward Lowe, a B3Dental partner who heads the West End Dental Centre in Vancouver.

B3Dental was started two years ago by three Vancouver dentists who were surprised to discover that 20 per cent of their new patients were not getting the dental procedures they needed done due to money concerns.

Market research gathered by B3Dental 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.

"Statistics show that five per cent of dentists' invoices never get paid," 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 Vancity and Citizens Bank of Canada provide practice and patient financing to B3Dental clients. Credit is approved within 24-48 hours.

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union is Canada's largest credit union, with $7.5 billion in assets, 275,000 members, and 39 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.

B3Dental is a complete business solutions provider, serving dental offices across Canada and the United States. The B3Dental offering is a combination of practice management and e-business solutions offering dental practices and their patients access to quality dental services both on a direct customer representative basis and/or online via the website. B3Dental Service Centres are located in Vancouver, BC Canada and Irvine, CA USA.