There can be potential barriers on the path patients use to pay their medical bills. Some of these barriers have to do with the practices and systems healthcare providers use, while others are mostly or wholly on the patient side. While healthcare facilities are faced with the Herculean task of addressing both types of concerns, there are strategies and solutions available to effectively capture more patient payments and improve revenue cycle management.
Push for Payment Options and Education
"Your facility should emphasize the availability of payment plans to every patient."
Many patients are scared of a diagnosis that involves complicated medical problems because it often equates to large medical bills. A 2016 survey conducted by Copatient, a healthcare cost management service provider for patients, found 36 percent of patients received a medical bill they were unable to pay. Additionally, 41 percent had to use a payment plan to manage the expense.
What can your facility learn from these statistics? The glaring fact is that plenty of patients can't pay their bills all at once. The practical takeaway is a potential lack of knowledge about patient payment plans, something your facility should emphasize to patients who fall under the umbrella needing assistance to manage medical bills.
Patient payment plans empower patients and dispel fears about bills they can't pay in full at the point-of-service without reducing the revenue your facility deserves. Using pre-authorization on credit and debit cards makes sure your facility can automatically collect payments without requiring staff to engage in significant additional work. Scheduling debits on a regular basis fulfills a similar role, providing patients and your facility with a high degree of consistency.
While offering these plans is critical, it's only the first step in making them effective. Being able to have the Money Talk allows you to have an open discussion with your patients. This open and comforting discussion can shed light on how your facilities payment options help them manage their fiscal responsibility. Often times, automated recurring payment plans are a great tool to get your foot in the door with an initial payment, but be flexible enough so your patient can continue to make substantial payments.
Use the Right Patient Payment Solution
Using an advanced payment solution that incorporates automated recurring payment plans, as well as other popular patient options like online bill pay, is critical to effectively managing revenue. Becker's Hospital Review highlighted a 2017 study from consumer transparency organization Amino and researcher Ipsos, which found 53 percent of Americans believe a medical bill they can't afford is just as bad as a serious diagnosis.
Modern healthcare payment systems, along with educational materials and staff who can answer questions with confidence, give providers the resources they need to combat these feelings. When payment options are clearly laid out in front of patients, it's easy for them to realize there's more than one way to handle their bills. Your facility will benefit from this change in attitude, and patients won't feel as scared or hopeless when they realize they have viable options to choose from.