Patient Payment Plans: Your Complete Guide to 6 Best Practices to Follow
According to a Pew Research Center Survey, healthcare affordability is one of the top concerns for the public.
Yes, and to an extent where individuals resort to delaying care or switching to more affordable providers. This not only affects patients but also healthcare providers in numerous ways. Individuals delay required treatments and providers have to unwillingly deter patients from their practice.
In the wake of all this, patient payment plans have emerged as a lifesaver, quite literally in some cases. So, what are these healthcare payment plans? In this blog, we'll discuss the need for payment plans in the healthcare sector, and how patient payment plans help patients and providers. Further, we'll discuss the best practices providers should follow while implementing a payment plan software like Credee.
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Healthcare Payment Plans: The Need of the Hour
|According to a recent study, nearly 1 in 10 patients have used a payment plan to pay for their most recent doctor's visit.|
This only underscores the growing popularity of payment plans in healthcare sector. And this popularity is a result of dire need or unprecedented circumstances. For instance, 28% of older generations paid for their most recent healthcare visit with a payment plan after receiving an unexpected bill. Additionally, 10% of GenZ consumers with issues paying bills chose to use a payment plan for their most recent healthcare visit. So, every generation is in need and in favor of these patient plans. And providers are all in for it too.
Let's delve deeper into how these patient payment plans help patients and providers.
How do Healthcare Payment Plans Help Patients?
Patient payment plans are a savior for those who delay or avoid necessary medical or even elective procedures due to the overbearing costs attached to them. It makes healthcare services accessible and affordable even if they aren't covered by insurance.
It enables patients to:
- Cover unexpected medical emergencies or accidents
- Manage ongoing costs of chronic health conditions
- Afford expensive medical procedures and surgeries
- Bridge the gap of limited or no health insurance coverage
- Access dental, orthodontic, and vision care
- Handle maternity and obstetric care expenses
- Support mental health treatment and therapy
- Pay for preventive health screenings
|Notably, patients living paycheck to paycheck are most likely to need payment plans to pay healthcare-related expenses.|
How do Healthcare Payment Plans Help Providers?
The rising costs of healthcare services also affect providers. Unpaid medical bills and hesitant patients keep many from growing their practice amidst the ever-increasing competition. Payment plans in healthcare allow providers to help patients and make their services more accessible.
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It enables providers to:
- Ensure a consistent revenue stream
- Retain patients by making healthcare costs more manageable
- Reduce the risk of unpaid bills and lower bad debt expenses
- Receive regular payments and aid cash flow management
- Simplify the billing process
- Adhere to regulatory guidelines on patient billing
- Reduce administrative overhead costs
- Increase customer satisfaction and encourage positive feedback
Healthcare payment plans are gaining momentum in the industry. Providers must put their best foot forward and follow the best practices to make the most of it. But what are these best practices? Let's discuss.
Best Practices to Follow for Implementing Payment Plans in Healthcare
1. Automate Payment Collection
Timely repayment remains a challenge providers face when it comes to patient payment plans. And late payments, manual follow-ups, human errors, and administrative overhead costs, among other challenges, can cause stress.
|Remarkably, nearly three in four adults with past-due medical debt reported owing money to hospitals, and 45.1% owed both hospitals and other providers, according to an Urban Institute Study.|
To avoid this cycle, implement an automated payment collection system to streamline the repayment process. Reduce administrative overhead and process payments securely, send automated reminders, and handle recurring payments. Payment Plan Software like Credee allows you to do so effectively.
- Increase payment efficiency
- Enhance data security by complying with PCI DSS
- Maintain transparent records and reduce payment disputes
- Improve cash flow and patient satisfaction
2. Adopt a Patient-Centric Approach
The more convenient it is for patients to avail of your healthcare payment plans, the better it'll be for your practice. So, put your patients first. Offer them the flexibility to customize their healthcare payment plans. Remember, a one-size-fits-all approach may discourage potential patients from seeking care. Allow them to select options that suit their financial situation. For instance, give patients the choice to repay the amount within their preferred timeframe- 3, 6, 12 months, or even more. Plan it considering your practice's goals as well.
- Encourage patients to choose and commit to a patient payment plans
- Inspire trust by showing them you care and accommodating their needs
- Cater to a wider audience with different financial backgrounds
- Improve overall patient experience and increase their chances of coming back
3. Establish Clear and Proactive Communication
Don't wait for your patients to ask if you offer healthcare payment plans, tell them about it. Promote it. Many times, providers wait until after billing to offer the option, or even till bills are long overdue. This last-minute approach might not resonate with your patients. Instead, inform them about the patient payment plans from the beginning of their journey. You can also bring it up and actively recommend it when they're just inquiring about a service. Explain how payment plans in healthcare work. Moreover, this might encourage them to choose your practice. Additionally, include it in your messaging across your website, office signage, and emails. Further, proactively communicate with patients by sending automated emails and reminders about upcoming payments.
- Inform, engage, and convert more clients than ever
- Encourage the use of payment plans
- Strengthen your patient-provider relationship
- Become a go-to for patients by offering this add-on convenience
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4. Website Integration
The world is digital, and more often than not, patients visit a practice's website before visiting the practice itself. And integrating the option of healthcare payment plans seamlessly into your website can be a groundbreaker. It'll allow patients to explore, review, and select payment plans conveniently. Additionally, it'll improve accessibility and operational efficiency manifolds. Moreover, it can increase patient engagement, inquiries, and conversion rates. With payment plan software like Credee, you can do so effortlessly. Easily integrate it into your existing website and let patients choose a convenient way to pay for your services.
- Reduce payment processing time
- Provides transparency and convenience for patients
- Reduce administrative workload by automating online payments
- Improve the online presence and reputation of your practice
5. Provide Multilingual Support
Cater to a wider audience by incorporating multilingual payment plans. Ensure inclusivity, making potential customers from diverse linguistic backgrounds feel valued and engaged. Further, personalized payment plans in multiple languages show a commitment to meeting individual needs and fostering long-term relationships. This enhances the trust, loyalty, and lifetime value of customers.
- Eliminate language barriers and reduce the risk of miscommunication
- Ensures ease of understanding of payment options
- Expand reach and reach patients with diverse backgrounds
- Attract more international patients and build a positive reputation
6. Foster Inclusivity
Good deeds always pay off. Make healthcare more accessible and affordable to the underserved by choosing an inclusive payment plan software. One like Credee that allows you to offer healthcare payment plans to everyone irrespective of their financial status, credit score, or ethnicity. And the best part? You'll receive your rightful payment, only over time, which is much better than losing out on potential patients. Moreover, it will allow you to make a difference in a lot of people's lives, and help them in times of need without bearing any losses.
- Exhibit a commitment to equitable healthcare access
- Enable individuals with poor credit ratings to seek required treatment
- Foster a positive community image by encouraging inclusivity
- Increase patient enrollment and improve the health of the community
Choosing the Right Payment Plan Software
Now that you know the best practices, choosing a payment plan software should be easy. For one, make sure it seamlessly integrates with your existing website. Additionally, look out for features like multilingual support and automated payment collection. Further, for added convenience and accessibility, choose a payment plan software with a NO CREDIT CHECK policy like Credee. Moreover, Credee offers flexible payment plans and has a 97% approval rate. This means you can approve most of your patients. You can explore more about Credee here.
Healthcare payment plans have emerged as an indispensable solution in addressing the pressing issue of healthcare affordability. They provide a lifeline to patients facing unexpected medical expenses. And they are a savior for providers struggling to curtail unpaid bills.