Obesity has been an increasing health condition in the United States. The CDC reported costs for treating obesity in the U.S. were an estimated $147 billion in 2008, but not everyone with this condition can get the proper healthcare they need.
A USC study found that a high deductible health insurance plan increased the probability of high out-of-pocket healthcare costs. High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) increase the likelihood of a patient postponing or refraining to get treated for their health conditions.
If you’re a weight loss specialist and don’t want your patients skipping or postponing their weight loss journey, continue reading to find the best financing solution for their high insurance deductible.
The Reality of Your Patient’s HDHP
It’s likely most of your patients get their health insurance through their employer. Oftentimes, people with employer-supplied insurance are enrolled in a health plan with a high deductible. ValuePenguin reports that in 2019, 51% of the U.S. workforce was enrolled in a high-deductible health plan.
Patients who opt for high deductible health plans are often drawn in by the low monthly premium but are unaware of how costly their deductible is. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, the percentage of insured families having issues paying their medical bills was higher for those under an HDHP.
As of 2021, the IRS reports that the annual deductible and other out-of-pocket costs maximum is $7,000 and the minimum is $1,400. For family coverage, the minimum is $2,800 and the maximum is $14,000.
A high deductible health plan can provide benefits without a deductible or with a smaller deductible amount for preventative care like physicals, immunizations, screenings, and more.
Obesity weight loss programs are considered preventative care, however, surgery with additional weight loss requirements such as consultations and follow-ups with psychologists, dieticians, or nutritionists are more out-of-pocket costs to consider.
Thus with an HDHP, deductibles, copays, or even co-insurance fees can add up. Empathize with your gastric bypass patients by being transparent about their overall costs and payment options.
Insurance Plan Coverage for Gastric Bypass Surgery
Depending on your patient’s insurance, an insurance company may cover a portion or all of the cost of the weight loss surgery. As you know, patients must prove they’ve been unable to lose weight and have documented health issues to be insured for the surgery.
Although, some health insurance plans exclude coverage for bariatric surgery completely. Some of your patient’s treatments like lab work and other pre-op requirements may still be covered, but they’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the actual surgery.
Still, even the minimum deductible of $1,400 for a high-deductible health plan is a lot to ask for from a weight loss surgery patient. You don’t want to be the one to stump their New Year’s resolution off the bat. Let’s talk about potential financing for high deductibles.
Why Medical Loans and Credit Cards Won’t Cut It
If you’ve partnered with companies like Clear Balance, Access One, or Commerce Bank, you’re likely all too familiar with how medical loans work. Medical loans are good for covering an uninsured patient who needs to cover their surgery. However, if your patient only needs to finance their deductible amount, then medical loans aren’t a fitting payment solution.
Some bariatric professionals are opting to partner with Care Credit so their patients can finance their deductibles and copays. Care Credit is a medical credit card that can be used for healthcare expenses across all industries.
The catch is, Care Credit has a high APR, meaning a patient’s accrued interest at the end of the promotional period is going to be high if their balance is not paid in full.
If your gastric bypass patient has other medical bills to pay, they might easily max out their Care Credit card and be pushed into a financial bind.
Furthermore, your patients will need to be approved for Care Credit’s healthcare credit card, which would require them to have fair or good credit.
Offer Payment Plans for High Deductibles with Denefits
Denefits is a complete payment solutions system that offers payment plans for patients across all healthcare industries. With Denefits, your gastric bypass patient is instantly approved for manageable monthly payment plans, regardless of their credit score.
Denefits runs no credit checks so your patient can finance their deductible and get the surgery they need. Denefits also reports your patient’s on-time payments to the credit bureaus to improve their credit score.
In addition, payment plans are fixed-interest and over a period of time that works for both you and your patient.
The Bottom Line
It can be disheartening to witness a weight loss patient struggle to pay for any kind of necessary service. Whether they have health insurance or not, there’s no denying that healthcare services are costly.
More often than not, you’re going to run into patients with an HDHP, so Denefits is a great payment solution to finance high deductibles. Help your bariatric patients and your practice today by joining Denefits. Interested in learning more? Request a callback from the Denefits team.