September 3, 2020

What to do when your patient payment plan options are not enough?

As COVID-19 continues to wreak physical and financial distress, many patients find meeting their healthcare financial obligations more challenging than ever. People who may never have struggled in the past suddenly are finding paying their bills, particularly large medical charges, difficult or impossible.

Healthcare providers using analytics to understand where patients are on their financial journey long have offered payment options, such as monthly payment plans and even financial assistance. But in today’s environment, a growing number of people are not able to pay enough even to stay current with monthly plans. Some are still furloughed and may not be sure when their regular income stream will resume. Others may have lost jobs and have not been able to find new ones. These people need payment options that extend beyond a provider’s current collection policy.

The first step, or course, is identifying people in these special circumstances. And, second: providing seamless access to assistance from a third-party financing partner.

Many industries long have offered such a financial option for consumers facing large expenses. Consider construction companies that not only provide upfront project and cost proposals, but a list of pre-approved third-party financing options for customers. When the financing option is this easy, customers typically can receive approval with the same speed and ease as applying for a credit card. The contractor then can move forward with a signed contract and guaranteed payment in a single day.

Healthcare consumers deserve the same streamlined approach to credit options. It’s also good for providers since connecting patients to trustworthy financing options means reducing write-offs. For patients, it offers a fast and easy way to gain access to financing help and the means to continue meeting their obligations and preserving their credit health.

Catching patients who need financing options earlier in their financial journey begins with analytics and intelligence. Providers using an analytics-based revenue management solution have an easy pathway for determining who is a good candidate for third-party financing and for connecting patients directly with the third-party financing partner to start the financing process. Offering this feature directly through your patient portal expands better patient financial outcomes.

The key to success is making it extremely convenient for the patients in need and financing partners to connect and move forward with the most appropriate financing options. Ideally, your revenue management partner can identify those patients and facilitate a seamless connection between financial institutions with whom you have existing third-party payment relationship—making it easy for you to add patient financing to your existing patient payment options and for financially struggling patients to access this vital service sooner than later.

During this time of uncertainty, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers, patients, consumers, and employees.
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