While patient out-of-pocket costs are on the rise across the board, no sector of the market has perhaps been more impacted by this trend than ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). In an age where insurance deductibles have risen from a few hundred to thousands of dollars in many cases, ASCs have had to alter their practices to deal with the changing tide. Today we discuss three of these trends, and how the industry is adjusting to these changes with modifications of their own.
Transparency in Communication
When insurance providers were handling the majority of costs for most standard procedures, communicating exact costs to a patient upfront was largely unimportant. Most plans had a clearly-defined copay that mostly fit into a typical credit card transaction. But with 51% of medical visits resulting in patient responsibility of more than $500, those days are in the past. Being transparent and upfront about all costs, not just copays, has become standard practice for ASCs. And patients are also asking more questions about the process upfront, requiring greater transparency on the part of the provider.
Changes in Billing Procedure
Hand in hand with transparency, many ASCs are also having to change their billing process to collect payment up front rather than in arrears. In 2017, the Ambulatory Center for Endoscopy in North Bergen, New Jersey began discussing payments with patients ahead of any scheduled procedure, with insurance specialists working with a patient on their specific insurance situation. Most of their patients now pay a portion of out-of-pocket expenses upfront, with an agreement on when and how to pay the balance. This protects the Center from a higher risk of bad debt, and, in some cases, a bad patient experience from those who may be surprised to learn of their portion of the bill after the fact.
Flexible Payment Options
While transparency in communication and modified billing procedures are proving helpful to ASCs dealing with changing financial realities, patients need financing that includes more manageable monthly payments, including interest-free options. Curae provides patient financing of up to 100% of a procedure’s cost within seconds of an application, with the provider being paid in as little as 48 hours. Our programs cover a wide range of credit scores, and patients can research the availability of offers without impacting their credit (a common concern for many). Aside from the patient benefit, our solution also benefits ASCs who no longer have to focus on billing for that patient, instead focusing more resources on providing exceptional patient care. Contact us today to find out how your practice can benefit.