4 Steps to Get Patients to Pay Their Bills
Over the years, healthcare costs have continued to climb for healthcare consumers, and it’s taking a toll on whether or not they receive medical care. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs have risen 30% since 2015 and healthcare consumers with out-of-pocket expenses totaling $501-$1,000 have gone up to 59% in 2018, 20% higher than it was in 2017. With other expenses rising, it’s no wonder that 47% of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency expense.
But like any other business out there, urgent care centers need patients to cover their bills and make sure their patients pay them. These steps can help centers stay in the green and healthcare consumers stay on top of their patient payments.
Step 1: Be Upfront on Costs
Even though there is legislation that makes out-of-pocket costs transparent and ends surprise billing, many healthcare consumers still aren’t clear on their healthcare costs. MedData’s 2021 Medical Billing Statistics shows that only half of patients have clear information on costs before being treated and 62% of patients look at out-of-pocket costs before pursuing care.
To ease your patient’s concerns and provide a transparent experience, list costs on your website and make them easy to find. Patients will appreciate your approach and ease of access as they make their decisions, which will lend to a more loyal experience if they choose you as their provider.
Step 2: Initiate Engagement
It’s easy to forget healthcare bills when consistent bills are always top of mind like electricity, gas, rent, mortgage or credit card. Consistent and thoughtful engagement is a key first step to getting a patient’s attention.
Keep communications brief and to the point that draws patients in with compelling copy, imagery and calls to action. Segmented engagement like psychographic engagement appeals to patients by motivating them to put in the work on their health, tugging on their values, beliefs and ideals. This is all through the way providers communicate including how they send communications, how often and how the message is conveyed. While one patient, like a Willful Endurer, might like a delayed message that embodies living in the present, while another, like a Priority Juggler, might want an immediate message that emphasizes fitting payments in their busy schedule. Using a patient engagement platform like the PatientBond Digital Health Platform can expand these efforts further.
When urgent care centers use this type of patient engagement model to appeal to their healthcare consumers, it leads to better ROI. It also can help build digital relationships that can attract more patients in the process. All it takes to start the process is to start communicating with your patients.
Step 3: Offer Options
It’s better to get a partial or extended payment than nothing at all. Payment options allow patients the flexibility they need to pay back their healthcare provider. Generate payment plans with various frequencies like weekly, biweekly or monthly payments. Allow wiggle room if they can’t make them on time or if they need to change the payment frequency.
Lastly, include multiple payment methods. Cash, check or credit card are standard, but healthcare organizations can also look into newer payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Many people link several accounts to these payment methods.
Step 4: Continue Engagement
Remember, consistent engagement is key to getting patients to pay their bills. The goal is to keep yourself top of mind as they navigate their finances and choose what to pay for. It may take some time, but if you use insights from a platform like the PatientBond Insights Accelerator™ and psychographic segmentation, those bills could be paid much sooner than later.
Want to boost payments and improve the patient experience? Learn more in our case study.