High Deductible Healthcare Plans (HDHPs) make many in medical billing uncomfortable, because they shake up the ways in which those in healthcare get paid. Many see the plans as a negative challenge, or a hurdle to overcome.
Despite the fact that many providers, practices and ambulatory centers see the rise of patient payments as increasing the burden of collections, there are a few reasons well-prepared providers have nothing to fear in the era of healthcare consumerism.
We know all too well the challenges associated with HDHPs from the medical collections side: Patients who can’t pay, patients who won’t pay, patients who make following up as difficult and time-consuming as possible, multiple interactions with patients and insurers to figure out who’s responsible for what portion of the bill and confirming each party pays up.
But though many practices would rather not deal with increased patient payments, they’re faced with no choice: HDHPs are here to stay. Since practices must adapt to the needs of their patients in today’s age, this creates a transition period -- but a period in which innovative providers can gain huge competitive advantages over less nimble peers.
There are a few reasons to be bullish about HDHPs.
For one, the number of patients insured has increased since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the low costs associated with being in an HDHP. According to the AHIP, the number of workers enrolled in HDHPs increased to 19.7 million in January 2015, and has proliferated by a rate of about 15 percent each year. With more people insured, that opens the door for additional customers that may previously have avoided care.
Another element to consider is how technology can aid in (and even automate many parts of) the collections process. Whereas you may have to go through insurance payers on their terms, through antiquated processes, you have the ability to set the expectations and technological aspects of the patient payment process. Consider these features we think that every patient payment portal should have. Technology can do things like provide cost estimates, collect patient and payment information, and so much more that makes the process easier for both provider and consumer.
Third is that, if you’re well-positioned to receive and collect upon patient payments (Our checklist walks you through the questions you should ask), you’ll enjoy an edge over the competition in ease of use. As a consumer, have you ever made a purchasing decision due to a reason besides price? Things like location, atmosphere, and customer service can really make a difference. In the same vein, your painless payment process could be a huge draw for patients who are used to complex, difficult and unclear billing.
Practices that prepare properly and embrace the changing times in healthcare payment models can gain advantages over their competitors and improve revenue collections. Are you willing to make the necessary changes now to thrive in the coming years?
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