The popularity of high-deductible health insurance plans, which place more of the responsibility of the cost of care onto patients, shows no sign of slowing down. This trend has, in turn, created a healthcare market that gives patients more responsibility, as we wrote about last month. This new pressure on patients ultimately causes them to act more like retail consumers who are happy to shop around to get the best product for the lowest price, much as they might on Amazon.
Price transparency: The challenges.
This new consumerism model has created a new set of demands and complications for healthcare providers. However, no matter the difficulties, healthcare consumerism appears to be here to say, and practitioners must be ready to meet these challenges now.
A brief from America’s Health Insurance Plans stated that primary hurdles to price transparency implementation are threefold:
In terms of cost definition, it may surprise consumers that depending upon who is incurring the cost (is it the provider? The insurer? etc.), the definition may change. This can make it difficult to put the onus of price transparency responsibility onto the provider, but as the first-line of patient care, fall to them it must. It also follows that providers’ encouragement of the use of the online price comparison tools that most insurance companies now offer can help mitigate the second issue — price information availability. Which brings us to number three. Recommending pricing tool use during consultations can be both motivating to the patient as well as an excellent first step for those who wish to start transitioning to a more transparent pricing model.
Price transparency: The benefits.
For all of the potential pains involved when rolling out a more transparent pricing initiative, there can still be many benefits when done thoughtfully. For instance, when price transparency is more widely adopted for a given procedure, it can ultimately serve to reduce that procedure’s market price, making it more likely that patients will decide to go forward with procedures, especially those that are elective. Price transparency can also reduce claims payments, including those for various lab tests, office visits, and imaging, while also decreasing payments made for clinical care.
Another major benefit to price transparency is the ways in which it can be used to market to patients and increase engagement, enhancing a practice’s financial health. In fact, this topic is compelling enough that it necessitates its own article — one which can be read in this space next week.
With the ability to be integrated directly into the patient intake process, Curae’s solution helps practitioners easily address patient financing within the same conversation as pricing, making it easier for them to say “yes” to procedures. Presenting a variety of financing options with an initial soft credit pull, patients can begin to evaluate what may meet their needs from the start, with little to no risk. To begin the process of adding Curae to your practice, visit Curae.com today.