The Most Important Conversation in Your Office
Insurance premiums have increased, the number of covered services has diminished, and deductibles have never been higher. Some of our patients are forced to make decisions about their health based on what they can afford, not what they need. A 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that more than half of U.S. adults report they’ve gone into debt because of medical or dental bills. As patient balances increase, the result is long-term financial strain and a growing problem for healthcare providers across the country.
The best way to keep patients happy, improve clinical outcomes, and enhance collections in your practice, is to discuss your fees and payment policy up front clearly and openly. Patients feel frustrated trying to understand and navigate their financial responsibility. Set yourself apart by clearly outlining what is covered, or not covered, by their insurance and explaining deductibles and copays. By conducting a formal Financial Report of Findings in your office, you can clearly outline your treatment plan and the patient’s estimated out-of-pocket expenses. When patients understand their financial responsibility, it eliminates the fear of unexpected costs that are not in their budgets. Financial clarity can help improve clinical compliance if the fear unexpected healthcare bills is removed.
One of the simplest ways to provide affordable payment options is by offering automated payments. This is a great tool to ensure that your patients complete their recommended care, reduces missed visits and eliminates the sting of out-of-pocket payments at the end of each visit. In fact, orthodontists have successfully used this technique for years. I walked into an orthodontist’s office with my sons and walked out 30 minutes later with an affordable payment plan for over $7,000 in orthodontia. The staff clearly explained the need for care, the cost of the care, and gave me an affordable payment option. I never thought twice about the total expense because the monthly payment fit in my budget. And I don’t think we ever missed an appointment!
Patients need and want care, or they wouldn’t come to your office. Provide a thorough consult, exam, and Report of Findings to establish the need and benefit of care. Then offer a simple, compliant, Financial Report of Findings. We offer some free tools you can use to show patients how you can help keep their care affordable, whether they have insurance or not. To download our simple 1-page financial policy, a simple 1-page financial report of findings, and to learn how to create compliant care plans, go to http://www.chirohealthusa.com/frof.
If you provide ways to make care affordable, and offer payment options that your patients can afford, you have a win-win situation. Patients have become “healthcare consumers,” and with healthcare costs rising faster than inflation, you must find ways to help patients access affordable care without putting your practice and your license at risk.