Patients with High Deductible Plans and You
It’s always hard to get money from patients when they visit your healthcare establishment, especially when they are suddenly shocked by a high deductible price. Often, the patients will get upset with you, even though the price of their deductible isn’t your fault. You don’t want to be the bad guy and make them pay that much, but you are a business, after all, and you need revenue to keep your business going. They may want to pay later, but that may result in you not getting paid. So, what’s the best way to handle this situation?
Patients aren’t often prepared to pay a high deductible price up front, especially if they were expecting to pay much less. This sticker shock can negatively impact their opinion on a lot of healthcare, too. The expenses they have to pay out of pocket may discourage them from coming to see their primary care physician or an urgent care clinic in the future, even if they really need it. They may also seek out another physician or clinic that will bill them later. Either way, you’re losing business.
You need to know what your practice’s bottom line is. How much do you make with each visit? How much do unpaid patient bills affect you? You NEED to know all of this to know what kind of policies to set up about paying up front and dealing with potentially unruly customers that are caught off guard by their visit’s high sticker price.
Have your front desk staff know how to code these kinds of visits. Precoding often comes in handy here. They can give a potential estimate to patients of how much the visit might cost along with their copay. You can discuss the price with patients and work with them to set up payment plans instead of a simple “I’ll come back and pay you later” kind of approach. Collect half against the insurance responsibility so you get paid for this visit, and set up the plan to receive the rest over a set period of time for an agreed upon rate.
One of the most important things you can do, though, is make your patients feel like their visit is worth the amount they paid. Your providers and front desk staff should be friendly and efficient. Make your patients feel cared for, so that they leave feeling like the visit was worth the cost. This also helps to ensure that patients will keep coming back to you to receive further care when they need it, or that they may recommend you to their friends or family, setting up your practice to earn more revenue in the future. Like I said earlier, this is still a business, so your patients to leave feeling like they received a great customer experience.
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