3 ways patient financing improves patient satisfaction
It's never been easy to be a surgical patient. First, there's the anxiety related to undergoing a procedure. Even for routine, outpatient surgical care, there are always safety risks. Then, there are all the other stressful — and sometimes uncomfortable — issues tied to surgery, such as preparation, post-operative side effects, physical therapy and follow-up care, coordinating transportation to and from the facility, taking time off work and arranging for support at home.
But another challenge has recently emerged that has added to this already stressful experience — and for some patients quite greatly: financial responsibility. It wasn't long ago that $50 co-pays and $250 deductibles were commonplace. Now such low figures are rare, if not unheard of.
How concerned are consumers about healthcare costs? According to a Consumers for Quality Care survey, Americans are more worried about these costs along with their increasing financial responsibility than the costs associated with retirement, higher education, housing and child care. Furthermore, Americans are more concerned about premiums, deductibles and co-pays than about access to care or quality of care. And, as the survey notes, that's despite the fact that more people in the United States have health coverage than ever before.
The good news is that these trends and concerns have not gone unnoticed by service providers. In recent years, we've witnessed the emergence of innovative patient financing options developed to provide critical assistance regarding treatment costs.
One option receiving increased attention from and adoption by ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) is the provision of a secured loan to patients that covers their surgical costs. The model works as follows: When ASCs offer this option and patients choose to take advantage of it, patients receive a loan package designed to meet their budget. After a patient undergoes a procedure(s), the ASC receives a payment covering the patient's balance, with the lender managing collections activities.
The model significantly benefits ASCs as they can more effectively collect higher patient balances and receive payments in an expedited manner. The model also greatly benefits patients — so much so that ASCs offering the option are likely to witness increased patient satisfaction.
Here are 3 of the reasons why.