AquinaApril 9, 2019

Providing Patient Payment Assistance Helps Improve Your Bottom Line

Providing Patient Payment Assistance Helps Improve Your Bottom Line

It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare is on the rise. For most families, the cost of health insurance is one of their largest expenses. To offset some of this financial burden, families have been opting for health plans with higher deductible options.

Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed 49% of households do not have enough liquid assets to cover a higher-range annual deductible, defined as $2,500 for an individual or $5,000 for a family.

So, even though the monthly cost is reduced, the main concern now is being able to pay the deductible amount. And, even those families who elect to purchase a health plan with a lower deductible option, less than $2,500, most would still struggle to pay this amount out-of-pocket if an emergency were to arise.

Bankrate recently surveyed Americans on how they would pay for an unexpected expense, notably a $1,000 emergency hospital visit. The results are interesting:

“While tapping savings to pay off an emergency was the most common response, more than a third of Americans would sink into one type of debt or another, potentially harming their financial security. Almost 1 in 5 would pay with a credit card and finance the balance over time; 12 percent would borrow from family or friends, and 5 percent would use a personal loan.”

Add to this growing concern, BankRate also recently reported that due to the high costs of medical care, more people would rather forgo treatment than visiting a doctor. About 1 in 3 Americans in that age group say they’ve chosen not to seek needed medical attention because they couldn’t afford it.

What can your medical practice do?

Since most people will be paying for medical expenses on their own, it seems that medical practices will need to educate their patients about their payment responsibility if they want to increase, or even maintain revenue.

Here a few steps to take to assist your patients:

  1. Educate staff and practitioners about the new reality of HDHPs and how they impact the health of the practice
  2. Provide accurate estimates to patients, either prior to the appointment or at the time of service, to help them understand what they will owe beyond just copays and deductibles
  3. Utilize technology by implementing a practice management system to easily update patient accounts and establish collection workflows
  4. Make it easy for patients to pay by offering credit card products focused exclusively on payment of medical expenses or providing access to financial solutions to help pay larger bills through a monthly payment plan

Health care costs continue to rise. Now more than ever, patients are paying more of those costs out of their own pockets. Higher deductible health plans, at first glance, seem like the best solution. However, the research shows, even this option is making it difficult for most families to pay.

Medical practices are facing stiffer competition than ever before. In order to stay in business, keep patients happy, and increase revenue, it would be prudent to implement a few of the above-noted steps.

If your medical practice is interested in offering patient financing solutions, you can learn more about Curae here.