With high deductible healthcare plans becoming the new normal, it is more important than ever that patients understand all of their financial options. When consumers can’t easily access basic information on cost and quality of their healthcare, they don’t know how to select the most efficient and effective service. This leads to increased costs for all parties. Delivering greater healthcare price transparency has become an essential tool in getting practices paid on time with greater accuracy.
It’s easy to advocate for price transparency, but actually implementing it within a practice can be more challenging. There are a few healthcare price transparency best practices that are universal. Implementing these will go a long way in providing a more transparent experience for patients.
3 Healthcare Price Transparency Best Practices
Upfront payment estimates
Providing estimates to patients prior to a scheduled procedure is an important step to make them aware of fees associated with their visit. This helps patients prepare for their out of pocket costs and can lead to an increase in their financial experience with the practice. Surprisingly, only 26% of physician practices use payment estimator tools. This means that the other 74% are either doing it manually, or not at all.
Practices must offer accurate estimates of out-of-pocket costs that factor in data relevant to the specific procedure. This estimate should include, at a minimum, information about co-pay, co-insurance, and the remaining deductible. Without this crucial information, patients are unable to make the most informed decision regarding their treatment options. Being informed means patients can and will act more like consumers, which is what they have been demanding. It is also the right thing to do as a medical practice.
Patient confusion surrounding health insurance plans has increased as financial responsibility shifts from payers to patients. As a practice, it is important to manage expectations from the start. This helps patients understand the fees associated with their visit in advance. Because this information is confusing for patients, practices should check insurance eligibility as soon as possible to ensure patients are not blindsided by large medical bills. Providing this level of healthcare price transparency is shown to instill trust between patient and provider. It also helps practices collect revenue in a timelier manner.
Start the conversation around payment as soon as possible by providing out of pocket cost estimates. Make sure to provide patients with a written disclaimer regarding their financial responsibility for any out of network fees. Providing this type of information to patients allows them to understand their costs and make informed decisions. This leads to overall higher patient satisfaction.
About seventy percent of Americans struggle to understand their medical bills. They want to be able to review and pay for all of their medical costs in one place. Online portals where patients can store credit card information for future use and even set up payment plans gives patients the ability to structure payment in a manner that’s comfortable for them. It also gives them the opportunity to review their bills and truly understand their costs at their convenience.
Adding multiple digital payment options is a great way for healthcare practices to be transparent about costs while improving revenue. Having a convenient, easy-to-use system in place gives patients the access they want, which has been shown to increase their overall financial experience. This in turn increases on-time receivables.