On paper, HDHPs should mean faster payments for medical practices since revenue is less reliant on the claims submission process. This is because the patient is responsible for a greater portion of the bill, which ostensibly means that the healthcare practice would see a bigger cut of the payment tendered at the point of service. In practice, though, HDHPs have shaken out a bit differently.
As disconcerting as both outcomes seem, specialty practices can take certain proactive measures to prevent either from coming to pass.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to cope with the challenges of HDHPs is to present patients with a payment estimation prior to delivering a service.
This improves transparency and makes patients aware of their financial responsibility prior to the point of service so they can make the necessary preparations to cover that payment. It also presents patients with the option to pay prior to the visit, which helps reduce total charge lag days (the average amount of time between services rendered and payment).
Another viable payment strategy is to incentivize patients to keep a credit card on file that can be automatically charged at the time services are rendered. This makes it easier for patients to cover their portion of the bill without having to go through the motions of filling out their card information in an online payment form or pulling out their wallet at the front desk.
To make this possibility a reality, practices can leverage an automated eligibility verification function of a digital practice management solution like AllMeds Practice Manager. Seamless integration with your practice's EHR system makes it easy to preemptively document services and provide cost estimate to patients prior to the visit.
When patients wait to see a specialist until a problem becomes serious, that risk ultimately transfers over to the healthcare provider. Reacting to a severe health condition that has been allowed to progress will almost always cost more than preventing it or managing it. Consequently, there's a greater chance that a higher payout will be asked of the patient. In turn, this increases the chances that a patient with a high deductible won't pay the full amount at the point of service.
By contrast, engaging patients to make sure that they are receiving the care they need is cost-effective for the patient and financially less risky for the provider.
How do you achieve this? Some methods include: