Is Patient Financing A Good Move For Your Medical Practice?
Every medical practice is in existence because the doctor or doctors involved wanted to help people. The people that need their help the most are the ones that have trouble paying the high deductible that is imposed by their health insurance company. If you’re not getting paid the deductible amount, you are in essence giving your patients credit. In order to avoid closing down your practice because of non-payment from your patients, you may want to set up some sort of patient financing system for them.
For over 20 years, the credit card industry has been issuing credit cards that have been specifically created to pay the medical expenses that patients incur. There was a time when only very expensive procedures like orthodontics, plastic surgery, and eye surgery were paid for with medical credit cards. Currently, there are over 175,000 practices that use credit card financing. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to receive this card. Some people have been turned down because of their low FICO score. Their low scores have been attributed to the recession and unemployment. After being turned down for this type of patient financing, some people have decided not to see a doctor even though they need to.
People that have qualified for the card are having a hard time paying their bill because of the high-interest rate, which is 10% higher than regular credit cards. Some are saying that the terms of the credit card weren’t fully explained and that people weren’t informed that there were ways that they could steer clear of the penalties, fees, and deferred interest. Others that are struggling to pay their medical bills will end up having to declare bankruptcy. The need for some sort of a patient financing arrangement that won’t send people to the poorhouse is greatly needed.
If you are a physician with your own practice, you are also a businessperson. In order to continue helping people that need it, you must also make sure that your business doesn’t have to close its doors because you weren’t paid for your services. This means that having a payment system in place might be a prudent business strategy. Your practice could set up a billing system that allowed for monthly deductions from your patient’s debit or credit card. Your patients could use their own credit cards that carry a lower interest rate. The billing system would send out confirmation emails when the payments were deducted.
As a doctor, your desire to help those in need cannot be sidelined by your own unpaid bills. When a good patient financing system is in place, both you and your patients will benefit.