There are many ways patients pay for the entirety of their medical care, from insurance provided by employers or purchased publicly to payments they make directly to healthcare providers. With so many avenues available to fulfill their financial obligations and the substantial differences in various insurance plans, healthcare payments are an especially complicated topic.
One area that causes some of the most direct and significant problems for providers is getting patients to pay in full and on time. How can your facility have more effective and positive financial discussions with patients? Consider these pieces of advice:
1. Address the Issue Directly
Financial discussions with patients can feel uncomfortable for many healthcare staffers at first. However, avoiding this conversation or addressing it indirectly can ultimately lead to confusion, hesitation, and negative outcomes.
"...you can make sure everyone is on the same page."
By speaking about the topic in a positive and straightforward fashion, you can make sure everyone is on the same page. Together, you can then execute the financial plan. Ideally this results in capturing the patient payment up front, but setting up a recurring payment plan is often just as effective.
It's important to be professional. The way your office handles this conversation can play into a patient's satisfaction as much as the care they receive. Mentioning both requirements and options before, during and after treatment prevents the patient from being surprised. That leads to a more informed and aware patient and therefore better outcomes.
2. Have the Right Solutions in Place
Conversations about payment are only as effective as the platforms used to reliably capture payments. To ensure patients have access to useful options and tools, organizational leaders need to prioritize advanced payment solutions.
How does using the right patient payment platform create a better environment?
- Offering multiple payment options helps overcome issues where patients only have a single method of payment with them, and addresses a wide variety of payment preferences. When your facility accepts cards, cash and checks in person as well as offering online payments, it's hard for reluctant patients to avoid paying.
- Automated recurring payment plans offer a reliable compromise to accepting patient pay over time. With payment information – be it from a credit or debit card or bank account – on file and a mutually agreed upon payment schedule, the likelihood of a positive resolution for a payment plan increases.
- Pre-authorization allows providers to charge up to a set amount or bill the entire cost of a visit before a patient arrives or on the day of treatment, with all information already on file.
To learn more about effective conversations and resolutions in the world of patient payment responsibility, check out our infographic and white paper on "The Money Talk."