Many medical practices are facing the issue of missing, late, or non-payment. It's mainly due to the increasing costs of treatments and the lack of efficient solutions like healthcare payment plans.
According to a survey, approximately 1 in 4 Americans have medical debt. It is another reason healthcare providers should consider alternative payment options. It can help enhance patient care and reduce the risk of defaulters.
What Are Healthcare Payment Plans?
Healthcare payment plans are financial arrangements designed to make healthcare services more affordable and accessible. These plans typically allow patients to pay for medical expenses over time, rather than requiring a lump sum upfront.
They are often used for procedures not fully covered by insurance, elective treatments, or in situations where a patient lacks insurance. These plans can vary greatly in their terms and conditions, such as interest rates, payment periods, and eligibility criteria, and are offered by healthcare providers, specialized financing companies, or sometimes through credit card programs specifically for medical expenses.
The goal is to provide patients with more manageable payment options, thus ensuring they can receive necessary medical care without facing immediate financial hardship.
How Can Healthcare Payment Plans Help Improve Patient Care and Boost Revenue?
Providing excellent patient care goes beyond the confines of the exam room. If you neglect the impact of rising healthcare costs on patients, you may accumulate overdue accounts.
Sending an account to collections is the last thing you’ll want to do. Instead, options like offering payment plans can be a great resort.
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It can help patients manage their medical bills in easy installments, ensuring they have a satisfying experience from the initial appointment till paying off their bill.
So, you can make the most of this opportunity by leveraging trusted payment plan software such as Denefits. It gives you more control over retaining patients from low-income groups.
What Are the Best Practices for Implementing Healthcare Payment Plans?
When you decide to offer payment plans to your patients, you need an effective strategy.
Here are the best practices:
1. Embrace modern payment methods
In the past, healthcare providers used a straightforward payment process. It usually involved insurance or sometimes out-of-pocket payments. But, with the new technologies, the payment method preferences of people have also changed.
Nowadays, most patients pay online with their debit/credit cards, digital wallets, or automated bank transfers. So, you should leverage modern technology to accept all types of payments.
2. Choose an inclusive payment options solution.
Affordable healthcare should be accessible to everyone. Therefore, you should focus on choosing an inclusivity-based payment solution like Denefits. It means you can accept everyone regardless of financial status, credit score, or ethnicity.
3. Enable Website Integration
Most patients check for payment options online before choosing healthcare providers. Therefore, it's best to have a payment plan system that allows them to review the payment options beforehand.
You can attract more patients by offering payment plans directly from your website. You can also improve operational efficiency.
4. Personalize payment plans
Allow patients to choose budget-friendly and personalized healthcare payment plans. With the right payment plan software, you can create customized payment options.
You can give patients the flexibility to choose plans that work for them, like 6, 12, 24, or 36-month options. It can enhance their overall experience and increase their likelihood of returning to your practice.
5. Recommend payment plans proactively
Many healthcare providers often offer payment plans after sending the bill. Sometimes they hold off until the patient has put off making payments for months.
Offering patients a convenient payment plan should not be a last-minute thing. Instead, a better approach would be to inform them about the healthcare payment plans from the beginning.
This way, you won't need to spend weeks or months sending statements to those who can't pay. Instead, you can enroll them in a payment plan immediately.
6. Train your staff
The key to successfully implementing payment plans is effective communication. Therefore, you should train your staff so they can properly explain the process and answer any queries.
Pro tip: You should have frequently asked questions (FAQs) on your website to make it easier for patients.
Is Implementing Payment Plans for Healthcare Worth It?
Here are the top reasons that make offering payment plans worthwhile for patients and healthcare providers:
(A) Makes Treatment Costs Affordable
Medical treatments in the U.S. are expensive. In fact, most Americans can’t afford to pay upfront. So, you can offer payment plans to make the treatments more affordable.
When you allow patients to spread the cost of treatments over manageable monthly installments, it gives them a sense of relief. So, even those with less-than-ideal financial conditions can get the care they deserve and trust you more than others.
(B) Higher Patient Satisfaction
Most Americans feel dissatisfied with healthcare services. A study revealed that about 71% of people have had frustrating experiences with healthcare providers.
Offering healthcare payment plans can help reduce the mental and financial stress of patients. They can enjoy peace of mind when they don't have to break their bank account to pay for healthcare services.
Hence, the option to pay over an extended period can boost patient satisfaction.
(C) Increases Patient Access to Healthcare
When patients don't have to pay the full fee upfront, they do not have many reasons to delay their appointment. Thus, it enables them to get the treatments when needed instead of avoiding visiting the health clinic.
It can help build a loyal patient base and improve the retention rate. As a result, you can enjoy a more stable revenue stream.
(D) Differentiates You from the Competitors
Nowadays, most patients compare medical practices before taking services. So, consider offering payment plans to attract them quickly. It can help differentiate you from the competition.
(E) Reduces Financial Risk for Providers
Offering payment plans by integrating software like Denefits can be pivotal to your success. The software not only helps create payment plans in an instant but also protects your payments.
It means you can stay assured about receiving your payments. Hence, you can offer payment plans without stressing about non-repayment issues.
(F) Flexible Payment Plans to Fit Patient Needs
Implementing payment plans also allows you to adjust the terms to meet every patient's unique needs. For example, you can adjust the contract duration to extend the contract. Or, you can allow patients to pay half upfront and half in installments.
You can also adjust the payment frequency as per your patient's ability. You can work with patients to create the best payment plan to suit their budget and treatment needs.
(G) Automate the Debt Recovery Process
A payment plan system such as Denefits can also help automate tedious tasks such as bad debt recovery. You can add a list of your overdue accounts, and the software will generate and send persuasive reminders to them.
It will incentivize them to pay with easy payment plan options that fit their budget. It will also use other tactics, such as discounts and offers, to persuade them until they are ready to pay.
Offering payment plans is a wise decision for healthcare practices. By making medical treatments more affordable, you can ensure long-term sustainable revenue.
The best way to implement a payment plan system is by using modern software like Denefits. With this, you can create custom payment plans for every patient minus the financial risk.
It can also help you attract high volumes of patients and stimulate practice growth.