Helping Patients With High Deductible Health Plans Afford Care
High deductible health plans are rising, putting more of the financial burden on patients to afford care and on practices to help them understand their payment options. Here are some ways you can help your patients.
According to a 2018 National Health Survey Study, between 2007 and 2017, enrollment in High Deductible Health Plans without an accompanying HSA skyrocketed from 10.6% to 24.5% for US employees. Now more than ever, individuals are choosing to manage their own healthcare expenses.
Many people don't fully understand how these high deductible plans work and turn to providers for help when facing an unforeseen medical expense. How can you help a patient facing a high deductible? Here are a few tips:
Tip 1: Provide patients with payment flexibility
Patients that are caught offguard by their high deductible need flexibility: both in how they can bring their financial resources to bear and when the payment is actually made. For example:
- Enable patients to use multiple payment types to complete their transaction. One FeatherPay client saw that 10% of payments over $1,000 used more than one payment method.
- Have a good third-party patient financing options. Patient financing has grown much in popularity recently, and having robust third-party patient financing offerings that work for patients across the credit spectrum can help afford care.
- Selectively use internal payment plans. Practices often shy away from credit-card based payment plans due to the risk involved and the difficulty in managing them, but the fact is that they provide the practice with flexibility to make the best decisions on the ground. Tools like FeatherPay can help practices create customized payment plans to minimize financial risk while also making management easy for staff.
Tip 2: Make the payment process less stressful
Even when they've planned financially for the expense, patients with high deductible health plans often need time and space to figure out how to best pay for their care. Many healthcare practices unintentionally make it difficult for a patient to understand and select their payment options. Consider the following common scenarios that we've seen at clinics of all kinds:
- A patient in a dental clinic was presented with their estimated out-of-pocket cost for treatment. Embarrassed by the fact that this would be a bill he'd struggle to pay, the patient told the treatment coordinator that he needed some time to think about it. The practice didn't have any way for the patient to pay remotely, so they told the patient, "Call back when you're a decision." Unsurprisingly the patient never called again.
- A patient asked a practice about the financing options available to her. She was given three different brochures for third-party financing companies and told to "apply online and get back to her". The patient felt overwhelmed by her options and ended up going without care.
- A patient was asked if he needed financing for his dental treatment. He initially told the treatment coordinator that he didn't need financing, but after going home he changed his mind. Unfortunately, he had no way to re-evaluate his options and decided to try a different practice.
FeatherPay is a payment platform that accelerates revenue and lowers operational costs for healthcare companies, while delivering a great experience for patients. FeatherPay consolidates all the different ways your practice enables payments into a single experience for patients and administrators.
Companies that use FeatherPay have seen 5-20% increase in their revenues as well as improvements in operational metrics such as patient satisfaction and sales rep performance.