An increasing number of patients are combining their financial experience and planning with their healthcare decisions.
In turn, this choice is pushing the medical industry to align its financing programs to meet the expectation of its customers.
Although medical financing programs have been around for a while now, the healthcare industry evolved its approach based on the patients’ needs. Flexible financing has become an essential component of this evolution.
Multiple healthcare consumer surveys show that patients actively inquire about payment options, want to pay their bills, and expect their provider to offer long-term financing.
Moreover, patients typically need more than a year to pay their healthcare bills.
Smart hospitals take advantage of these trends and provide patients with the right information at the right time so they can plan the bill payments.
Flexible finance plans are a big part of this solution as they give extra time to make payments. Let’s take a deeper look at some benefits of flexible financing.
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Supporting Patients Meaningfully
Patient experience and satisfaction extend beyond getting the right care and a positive healing experience. A negative experience in settling the treatment finances has a significant impact on the service’s overall satisfaction.
To avoid a situation where patients discover they cannot afford the treatment only at the billing stage, hospitals should proactively work with them to understand their ability to pay and provide meaningful financing options.
Ignoring this aspect of patient satisfaction will result in potential collection costs for the hospital and impact patients’ credit ratings.
A good example is how dental hospitals are solving this problem through their flexible dental financing plans.
Flexible finance plans allow hospitals to be empathetic. Engaging with the patients and setting the right expectations while also enabling payment at a pace that works for them is the right thing to do for the customers.
Increasing The Probability Of Bill Payments
A majority of patients have the good intentions of paying medical bills on time. But financial troubles, not having cash on hand, and complications in the insurance payment process make them unable to pay their bills.
Untimely payments result in a poor credit score, which, in turn, has a long-term impact on patients’ lives. On such occasions, all they usually need is some flexibility in how and when they pay their bills.
Providing flexible financing plans protects the hospital from missed bill payments and saves the patient personal embarrassment. Good plans clear up any confusion in bill amounts and allow patients to choose the pace of expenditure.
Many technological solutions allow a hospital to factor in the patient’s financial situation and identify the right plan, with or without interest. Some plans even allow patients to sign up without a credit check.
Efficient Payment Collection
While insurance covers most of the payments, one cannot ignore the out-of-pocket expenses that patients bear through their treatment.
These expenses constitute approximately 10% of the costs and might seem like an insignificant amount. However, they can build up to a substantial amount over time.
The share of out-of-pocket expenses has been growing steadily, and this is where patients face issues with payments. Not being able to effectively collect these results in the hospital’s poor financial health in the long run.
This problem becomes more prominent for elective procedures like dental treatments and cosmetic surgeries.
Dental and plastic surgery financing plans have evolved, and there are several flexible plans to pay for treatments today. It becomes further exacerbated in the case of plastic surgery.
The patient gets presented with an estimate for the procedure’s total cost but ends up paying many more times the original quoted amount. It can be covered with a flexible plan.
Achieve Business Growth
Patients typically choose medical centers that have reputed doctors and provide reliable, high-quality treatments.
However, your patients’ loyalty depends on another additional factor – the ability to pay for the treatments with ease and dignity.
Hospitals that are unable to provide flexible financial plans for patients will struggle with winning the loyalty of a big part of their customer base.
These plans are easy to implement and go a long way in creating a positive patient experience.
Offering the right plans not only have the existing customers choose your hospital for future treatments, but they also help immensely in good word of mouth.
Stepping up to provide a flexible financial plan not only gets bills paid but also brings new business.
Ease Of Setup
Like any initiative, when a hospital decides to implement a new system, one of the critical areas to focus on is to plan for scale.
Poorly set up systems work initially but fail as the scale of business and complexity of customer needs increase.
Many tools, software, and customized technology solutions are available off the shelf to suit medical centers of various sizes and complexities. They are easy to buy, set up, and use both for the patient and the hospital.
These solutions provide medical centers with rich reports and insights which are critical during compliance audits.
You can also use this data to spot patterns in how the payments are being made, allowing further optimization.
Flexible Financing Is The Way To Go
With the world getting more and more customer-centric, flexible financial plans are a part of natural evolution for the medical industry.
It is especially true as flexible financing options also reduce payment default risks for ensuring a healthy bottom-line revenue.
Since the patients want to pay the bills, it is in a hospital’s best interest to provide flexible financial plans that suit their needs. Finding the right technology partner makes the process smooth for everyone.
With increased ease of setting up these systems and customizing them for individual customer needs, many hospitals are pivoting towards providing flexible financial plans with varying duration and attractive interest rates.
The hospitals that do not embrace this change lose out on efficiently collecting the dues. They also become less desirable for patients to return to a particular hospital for future treatments.
In effect, positive customer experience converts to enhanced revenue.