Sticker shock at the gas pump, grocery store, or ticket line leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth. But paying too much for healthcare can seriously affect a consumers overall financial health. Although transparency in health care has been an ongoing struggle, consumers deserve to know the quality and cost of the products and services they are buying… That includes healthcare. The quest for superior care at a good price starts with transparency and can end with a satisfied and informed patient paying their balance.
The health care system is not so much a “system” as it is a loose collection of independent healthcare providers that include individual physicians, group practices, diagnosticians, treatment centers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and the countless health professionals that support them. Each of these individual businesses has its own revenue management systems and requirements.
A survey published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed patients participating in the study paid anywhere from $11,100 to $125,798 for a hip replacement, or arthroplasty. Researchers also contacted 120 hospitals by telephone and asked lowest possible total hip arthroplasty bundle price for a 62-year old woman without insurance. Only 45 percent of top-ranked hospitals and ten percent of non-top ranked hospitals were able to provide a complete bundled price.
Much of this variation has to do with markup. Many patients are unaware of what an MRI or CBC should cost, or that they could actually shop around for a better deal.
Of course, part of shopping is actually paying. If a consumer (patient) is told that a procedure is going to cost X, then give them the opportunity to pay X, or at least their portion of X. Payment software that enables payment at the point of service (POS), recurring payment plans or capturing an authorization to pay (card-on-file) can have a significant impact on reducing your A/R days and increase your cash flow. Healthcare organizations that offer these options to their patients have experienced a 20+% reduction in their A/R.
Are you doing everything you can to make it simple for your patients to know what they will owe and then offer them a convenient option for payment? If not, you are missing a valuable revenue component.