Why Don’t Patients Pay Off Medical Bill Debt?

Being a healthcare provider can be frustrating. If doctors do not provide patient payment plans, they find it difficult to retaining patients looking for affordable treatments. And when doctors do offer a payment plans option, some patients don’t pay off the medical bill completely. This leaves the doctor wondering ‘What can I do to grow my revenue without having to manage a stressful practice.

According to a CNBC report, Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills affect nearly 2 million people—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings, and outpacing bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages, according to new data and even having health insurance doesn’t buffer consumers against payment plans hardship.

Age Range % of Total
Bankruptcies
2013, Estimated
US Medical-Related
Bankruptcies 2013,
Estimated
Size of
Household
People Living
in Households
with medical-Related Bankruptcy
2013, Estimated
18-24 2.3% 14,618 2.41 35,229
25-34 18.7% 120,708 2.86 344,622
35-44 28.9% 186,812 3.35 624,888
45-54 26.4% 170,875 2.81 480,159
55-64 15.8% 102,080 2.18 222,534
65+ 8.0% 51,719 1.76 90,767

This is not the case with people not having a health insurance plan only. Another 10 million people still struggle to pay off the medical bills as per the report.

But is there a perfect plan that gives a win-win situation for doctors and patients both. We will come to the solution. But wait. Let’s first understand why patients find it difficult to repay the medical debt or even fail to pay off the bill and become bankrupt.

This will help you understand the patients’ perspective and the reasons why they can not pay off their medical bills. This will also help you avoid bad debts and grow your practice revenue.

Here are the reasons:

Pay Medical Bills With Denefits

1. Unexpected Illness

The major reason why people can not repay their medical loans or the balance amount to their healthcare provider is the unexpected timing of illness. People plan well in advance before purchasing a home or a car and therefore save in advance as well. They can also repay in small affordable payments. But healthcare is different. People buy health insurance for their family and themselves but other than that, there aren’t enough savings for health emergencies. Medical expenses come out of the blue. These can be overwhelming and spontaneous. Plus they often occur at the wrong time, just when you have paid a huge bill. Patients can not choose the time to be sick. As a result, they have no option but to stop their payments.

2. Multiple Bills

When a patient becomes ill, catches a serious infection or has an accident, she might have more than one bill to pay, for example, bills for medical tests, doctor checkup fees, the hospital bills in case the patient needs to be admitted and so on. Often, Patients also visit more than one provider before she undergoes a procedure or treatment resulting in huge bills.

Read Also: Here’s why paying for your medical bills using a credit card is not a good idea

3. Huge Bills

Medical bills can be very expensive eclipsing the monthly income or even the annual income at times leaving no option for the patient to pay the bills.

4. Wrong Bills

As per a survey, 80% of medical bills contain errors. The patient might or might not know how to assess those bills. There can be errors in the quantity of medicines, injections used, wrong fees charged etc. If so, they may hesitate to pay the bill as a way of stalling for time.

Read Also: What Happens When You Don’t Pay the Medical Bills?

5. Other loans

As explained about the unexpected nature of the illness, the patient or guardian often finds herself caught off guard. There might be other bills like a car loan, mortgage, home loans due to which the patient might already be overburdened. Because of the spontaneous medical illness, the patient is not able to pay back now. Hence, there is no option but to defer on the payments.

Here’s the solution you were waiting for

All said and done, if you don’t offer patient payment plans to your patients, you can’t retain them. But at the same time, payment plans without having a guaranteed payment feature is not going to give you a stress-free life as well. If a large portion of your practice revenue is going uncollected, you should consider using Denefits patient payment plans.

Denefits creates a Win-Win situation for both patients and Providers. While patients can afford the treatments they could not without a payment plans option, Doctors can now payment plans patients without having to worry about bad debts. Denefits provides payments to doctors on time, even if the patient fails to pay. You can visit the website for more details.

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