An Independent Review of Patient Financing and its Benefits
Patient financing is a popular payment option that helps individuals finally be able to afford needed health care procedures. By financing either the surgery or co-payment amount, it breaks down the patient cost into more manageable monthly payments.
A question that you may be asking your patients all too much is “How will you be paying for that today”?
As consumers, we’ve heard phrases like these many times and have even come to expect them in hotels, restaurants and retail stores. But in the doctor’s office? Most doctors can’t imagine asking for full payment at the time of service, much less demanding prepayment for services not yet rendered. Yet that’s exactly what their colleagues in plastic surgery do. In fact, prepaid appointments are the rule rather than the exception in the plastic surgeon’s office.
You might say that plastic surgery is different. How different is say, a cosmetic dentist from a cosmetic surgeon? Both doctors take years to master their crafts. Both doctors take risks in their respective areas of expertise. And both doctors enhance the appearance and self-esteem of their patients. Dentists might well have the advantage because they routinely restore function as well.
If you accept the premise that there is little difference between the two professions, then why are your accounts receivable in such a mess while your colleagues experience few problems in this area? In many other practices, one underlying problem is found — fear.
If you are afraid to put the financial needs of your practice ahead of your patients’ perceived inability to pay. Then, if you apply the strategy used by plastic surgeons and asked your patients to pay in advance, you will discover a surprising result — a majority of them will!
Some of your patients will grumbled about it, of course, but most simply need a reason to pay in advance. Your message to them should be straightforward: “It has become too expensive for us to carry balances, and when the cost of doing business goes up, so do our fees. We don’t want that to happen.”
A few patients will decline, primarily because they will not be able to afford to pay in full. This is a real concern for every physician. There will always be a portion of your practice that needs recommended procedures but can’t afford it.
How do most physicians get around this problem? Most of them use outside financing to enable their patients to obtain treatment. Yet outside financing does a lot more than help patients — it also enhances the doctor’s bottom line. In fact, studies show that practices that use outside financing often see a 30% increase in treatment acceptance. In other words, a practice producing $500,000 annually can see an increase to $650,000 simply by providing a way for patients to make low monthly payments to the bank.
Outside financing can also improve your practice by reducing accounts receivable, billing expenses and staff stress.
Introducing outside financing to your patients will be painless. During a financial consultation, a patient may often ask, “Can I make payments?” You response can be simple and positive, “Absolutely! We’ll be happy to arrange for low monthly payments. Our bank will assist in the process. I just need to obtain a little more information from you.”