“People get in over their head. They think they’re saving money on the back end, but it comes back to bite them.”
That’s a quote from Corrie Massey, administrator of the Foothill Surgery Center at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, CA from the April 2015 edition of Outpatient Surgery. She’s referring to the gravitation toward high-deductible health insurance plans, which now cover 1 in 5 U.S. residents.
Self-Pay and Skipping Visits
Unfortunately, it’s coming back to bite healthcare providers as well. One way it is hurting providers is in the growing number of patients who are skipping visits because they are worried about self-pay costs. A survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that 40% of respondents have missed a doctor’s visit at least once for this reason. As the article mentions, the tendency to skip visits because of fear of high self-pay costs could lead more complicated and expensive healthcare issues down the road.
Self-Pay and Services Rendered
Another challenge for providers is the inability to collect once the visit has taken place. According to the article, different studies have found that patients are anywhere from 50% to 70% less likely to pay their bills once the service has been rendered. In addition to having patients make payment up front, payment plans have also proven to be an effective method for getting those dollars in the door.
Whether you’re collecting up front, offering payment plans or following a more traditional A/R outreach timing strategy, the key is communication. Click HERE to learn some of the key challenges healthcare providers are facing in the communication about patient self-pay balances.