Best Practices for Discussing Patient Financing
Conversations surrounding finances can sometimes be awkward and challenging, but finding solutions to a patient’s financial hurdles through discussions can be very rewarding. When healthcare providers help patients better understand their obligations and provide them with options that fit their budgets, these patients can often improve their levels of care. These discussions can result in patients having more control over their options while allowing providers to stand out among other practices.
“Patients need care,” said Rectangle Health Chief Technology Officer Mike Peluso in a recent podcast. “But I think what people overlook is that providers want to deliver care. The idea of being able to afford that care gets overlooked. What we try to do is eliminate barriers to care.”
Rectangle Health offers Care Now, Pay LaterSM (CNPL®) as a solution to third-party patient financing to healthcare providers, empowering patients by helping them afford the care they deserve regardless of their credit score or financial situation.
Examples of conversations involving patient financing
Decades ago, healthcare providers may have been wary about discussing finances, regardless of the type of practice. That stance has changed significantly in recent years as cost-sharing requirements and deductibles continue to rise. Some examples of the discussions surrounding these topics might include lack of insurance coverage, unavailability of a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA), or limited cash savings.
- Lack of insurance coverage: Many patients without an adequate insurance plan often forgo care because of the cost. The high treatment cost of seeing a provider or filling a prescription can sometimes require patients to decide between their health and financial well-being. However, with options like Care Now, Pay Later, nearly every patient obtains approval for financing.
- Unavailability of an FSA or HSA account: While flexible spending plans and health savings accounts can often help put a dent in medical costs, they’re usually not enough, putting patients in a position of choosing between higher or lower levels of care. Patients who work for companies that do not offer insurance plans lack these options entirely. With CNPL, patients can receive offers instantly after applying.
- Limited cash savings: Without insurance, patients face the responsibility of paying their medical bills with cash savings. Some patients make lifestyle changes and sacrifices to secure even the bare minimum care levels. Informative discussions with healthcare providers make patients aware of payment options they never knew existed.
Best practice tips for transparent communication of patient financial information
Initiating conversations about financial responsibility is critical for managing expectations, receiving payments on time, and improving the patient experience at each treatment level. Starting the conversations early in treatment gives patients the tools they need to fulfill their financial obligations promptly.
“What Rectangle Health is trying to do is facilitate more ways outside of that,” said Peluso. “When we think about some of our ways, like Care Now, Pay Later, patient financing, or even paying at the point of care with a discount, it allows those patients to consume the care.”
Several tips for conducting these discussions include:
- Transparent discussions: Conducting conversations in the initial treatment stages can reveal potential financial problems that can surface later. These discussions help the provider understand what a patient can afford while allowing the patient to make plans for the needed care early.
- Presenting options: Providers can allow patients to receive the care they need by discussing options like what their insurance covers, a potential payment plan, or possible coverage from a government program. Utilizing solutions like Care Now, Pay Later lets patients get care by choosing the best option for them.
- Practice makes perfect: As healthcare providers conduct more financial conversations with their patients, they become more effective, efficient, and aware. More practice makes providers more comfortable and confident when discussing financial obligations and presenting potential payment options.
When having these financial conversations with patients, the primary elements should be asking the right questions, listening to the patient’s concerns, and ensuring the patient is part of the decision-making process. Implementing these strategies can improve the relationship between the provider and patient while helping individuals receive the care they deserve.
Connect with the professionals at Rectangle Health today
Rectangle Health is a leading healthcare technology company that provides practices with innovative tools to streamline patient payments, maximize payment processing, and optimize practice management.
To learn more about Care Now, Pay Later,
and other solutions Rectangle Health offers, contact:
Sr. Director, Enterprise Solutions
This article originally appeared on RectangleHealth.com.
* The Care Now, Pay Later program provides nearly 100% approval. Applicants determined to be in Open Bankruptcy, Fraud Alert or on the Terrorist Watch List during the application process will be declined. Patients covered by government payor programs for a procedure are not eligible for financing of that procedure. Government-payer programs include Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Department of Defense TRICARE and TRICARE for Life programs (DOD TRICARE), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program, and the Indian Health Service (IHS) program.