Too often, the true cost of care is unknown to patients until payment is due. The lack of transparent billing can wreak havoc on savings and budget planning, particularly for those on a fixed income or living paycheck to paycheck. It’s a primary source of confusion and frustration. While providers shouldn’t bear responsibility for this systemic issue, there are ways to provide greater predictability, transparency, and adaptability.
Ensuring registration data is captured accurately and performing insurance eligibility verifications can help avoid billing and collection issues. When these errors occur, they can cause stress for both patients and providers. Avoid potential headaches and maintain trust by taking measures to ensure these tasks are performed during each registration.
Technologies and services, such as practice management software and outsourced revenue cycle management services, can provide additional support to help maintain best practices for registration, claims processing, and billing and collections.
As individual-payer responsibility increases, the need for cost transparency takes on greater importance. A survey conducted by InstaMed revealed that 89% of respondents wanted to know payment information upfront, and 85% wanted an online estimation tool to evaluate costs prior to their visit.
Offering an overview of anticipated costs, in advance, can help build confidence and create a positive rapport. This can be done at the point of collecting copayments. If your front office has limited time or capacity, ask visitors if they have any questions about their payment responsibilities prior to meeting with their physician. These simple steps can help improve the billing experience and prevent potential misunderstandings.
When it comes to the cost of prescribed medications, ePrescribing, or electronic prescribing, technologies provide quick and easy access to review and compare drug prices. Some platforms also incorporate electronic coupons, which can be passed along directly to patients. Offering this technology expands cost transparency, while also helping to reduce costs, improve adherence through electronic monitoring, and eliminate prescription fraud and abuse.
Providing a variety of payment options is another consumer-friendly practice to consider. This can take the form of flexible payment plans, online payment systems, diversified forms of accepted payment, as well as prequalifying assistance for Medicaid or other financial aid programs. Simplifying the payment process is not only beneficial for patients, it can also help improve the speed and rate of collections. Education is important in helping people become aware of their payment options, so be sure to notify and remind patients during visits, over the phone, as well as via email and post mail.
Understanding the factors driving the consumerization trends reshaping healthcare services can help you better anticipate the specific expectations of customers. From there, you can more effectively evaluate the opportunities available to help support your patients as they seek to take charge of their healthcare.
Download our latest white paper, “Prepare for a revolution in the patient experience: Consumerization trends defining the future of healthcare” to learn more about transparent billing.
Check out all of the updates in our series about common expectations of today’s healthcare buyers, including: