The landscape of healthcare has changed dramatically in recent years, with medical cost-of-service skyrocketing and many patients finding themselves unable to afford the care they need. These changes have prompted a huge shift in the medical world, particularly with how patients prioritize and select the practices they receive care from, and one of the most important factors today’s patients are taking into consideration when deciding whether to go to you or the other guy? Patient financing options.
The reality is that in today’s healthcare landscape patient financing has shifted from a “nice to have” service offered exclusively by providers in elective industries like plastic surgery to a “must have” for any practice who wants to remain relevant and competitive. Here’s why:
1. Healthcare Costs Are Out of Reach for Many Patients
Today’s patients are experiencing some of the most extreme financial distress that we’ve seen in decades, and as COVID continues to impact jobs, businesses, and patient’s livelihoods across the country, it’s becoming less and less realistic to expect that patients will be able to pay their medical bills upfront and in full, if at all. The rising cost of healthcare is a serious challenge for many families, and when faced with the decision of wiping out their savings account to receive care, many patients reported that they would rather skip medical tests and procedures to save money.
Offering flexible payment options for your patients not only alleviates the stress and financial burden associated with their medical costs, it encourages them to stay healthy by removing the primary barrier to care: an inability to pay in full for medical services. While many patients are likely to skip care altogether because of financial difficulties, those who are given the option to pay over time are significantly more likely to proceed with receiving care.
2. Insurance Doesn’t Cover Many Medical Procedures
The sad reality is that when it comes to insurance, patients are paying more and getting less. Kaiser reported that insurance deductibles have increased by a staggering 255% since 2006, and the average insurance premium for family coverage has increased by 83% since 2005. As the majority of employers and employees shift to high deductible health plans, copays and out-of-pocket expenses are becoming increasingly expensive for patients and more difficult to pay. The state of the economy has further complicated the situation, with high unemployment and healthcare costs out of reach for many patients.
Having a variety of payment options to suit your patient’s individual needs is a win-win for everyone. Patients can pay medical bills over time in a way that doesn’t break the bank, and providers benefit from an increase in practice revenue while reducing the amount of bad debt that their practice incurs.
3. Patients Expect It
The reality is that we live in a world of consumerism, and it’s unrealistic to think that the healthcare industry is an exception. Today’s consumers live in a world that’s custom-built for convenience. Whether they’re shopping for clothes, for groceries, or for cars, they’re accustomed to (and have subsequently come to expect) quick service, competitive pricing, and a variety of online payment options. For almost any purchase now in addition to traditional payment methods there’s an ability to pay over time with no interest or low interest financing, as well as the option to pay with quick convenient methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc.
Healthcare is one of the only industries lagging behind the rest of the modern world. An overwhelming majority of healthcare practices still send paper bills, despite 80% of patients saying they would prefer to pay online for their services. In almost every other industry the majority of transactions are digital, automated, and centered around making life easier for the consumer - why wouldn’t patients expect the same when it comes to their medical bills?
4. The Competition Is Already Doing It
Transparency is key in today’s healthcare landscape, and patients are researching their options more than ever before. Before committing to a medical service, they want to understand what their costs will be upfront, and they want to know what their options are when it comes to financing their care. According to a survey by Health First, 77% of patients stated that this information was “important” or “very important” when determining what provider to use for their care. Additionally, 40% of millennials said they would switch providers to one that offered low-interest patient financing or zero interest patient financing if their current provider did not.
In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, the providers who get a leg up on the competition are the ones who recognize that patient financing plans and digital payment options play a huge role in determining where patients choose to receive care and who have adjusted their patient billing experience accordingly. Those that don’t will get left behind.
How Wellpay Can Help
Wellpay is a digital platform designed to automate and streamline your patient billing experience while improving patient communication. We make it simpler for your staff to manage bills and easier for your patients to pay, increasing collection rates by offering low interest and no interesting payment plans alongside a variety of online payment options so you can improve your practice’s value by meeting patients where they’re at, no matter their financial situation.Your patients get the ability to pay over time for their care and you get paid upfront, in full, and without recourse.
Want to learn more about how it works? Schedule a quick call with our team so we can walk you through what we do and how we can help solve your practice’s unique patient billing or financing needs.