You'll find a veritable treasure trove of information about the benefit of patient eligibility verification for the medical practice. Articles and white papers extol the advantages of upfront billing with regard to a practice's financial performance.
Few of these sources, however, will take you inside a very key point of interest for any physician: what does the patient think? Are they comfortable with the practice and do they see any benefit from this or is this a hardship they'd like to avoid?
These are pertinent questions for an important reason - the patient is now a healthcare consumer. They make concrete choices about everything from their own treatment plans to the doctors they're willing to see. Patients have the advantage of comparing costs and providers. They take their medical expenditures seriously because they are now spending a far greater portion of their own money on their costs for service.
So it's safe to assume that tools like patient eligibility verification that simplify the patient experience are well-received by these new healthcare consumers.
How Does Patient Eligibility Verification Impact the Patient
Patient eligibility verification allows the patient to know what portion of their bill will be covered by insurance in advance. Some of the positive changes that patients enjoy include the following:
- Transparency. Thanks to a rise in healthcare costs, patients have evolved into healthcare consumers. Rather than going to a family doctor and following that physician's instructions, patients are now weighing exactly what doctors advise for treatment and making decisions for themselves. They are not afraid to question treatment plans or find alternative providers. Because patients want and need more control over their medical decision-making, transparency is vital to their overall satisfaction in service. Patient eligibility verification allows patients to see exactly what will be charged for each line item of their treatment, what the insurance will cover, and what their own financial responsibility will entail. They can weigh this information with alternative plans and providers.
- Cost Estimates. Allowing patients to have cost estimates upfront is vital to the practice's ability to collect patient payments in a timely manner but it's also imperative to allow patients the opportunity to budget their healthcare costs comfortably into their monthly expenditures. Because patients are responsible for increasing percentages of the overall cost, the old model of back end billing is detrimental to their ability to stay current with medical bills unless they have advanced knowledge of the amount they will be spending.
- Streamlined Billing. The addition of patient eligibility verification streamlines the front end billing for the practice. The patient is made aware of their payment portion at the time of service and billing / payment becomes far easier to understand and pay on time. Many patients found the older methods of repeated statements prior to insurance coverage confusing and therefore delayed or neglected payment altogether.
- Scheduled Payments. For those who may have difficulty meeting the financial obligations after insurance coverage, this method of billing allows them to discuss the total responsibility they might be eligible for and work out a payment schedule they can comfortably meet.
- Lower Stress. For patients, it can be stressful to have medical treatments without any idea of how much the final bill might be. Having the figures worked out in advance allows the patient to evaluate their finances and settle a budget so that they're not concerned over getting a large bill that they're not prepared to pay.
Patient eligibility verification is becoming more and more essential to keep practice revenue cycles running smoothly. It's also an excellent addition for increased patient satisfaction.