Chiropractic Financing: A Win-Win For Providers and Patients
Many patients believe that a single visit to the chiropractor will “cure” their pain; however, chiropractors know that a comprehensive treatment takes multiple visits. Depending on the insurance provider, these ongoing visits might not be covered. As a result, the patient is left figuring out how to pay for care.
This situation comes at a time when out-of-pocket health care expenses are on the rise. People are paying higher insurance premiums, higher deductibles, and larger co-payments than in the past. Americans spend twice as much for health care today compared with what they spent in the 1980s. The average American spends $5,000 annually on health care now, compared with only $2,500 per year in 1984, when adjusted for inflation.
Patients without chiropractic insurance coverage might be hesitant to step through your door, instead opting for treatments such as invasive surgery or prescription medications that only mask pain. Reaching patients with quality chiropractic care, however, is important, with three in four chiropractic patients (77%) describing their care as “very effective.” So how can you open your doors to more people? Chiropractic financing is a powerful option that empowers patients with access to personalized payment options and helps your business grow.
Why Offer Financing?
Many chiropractic practices have financial procedures in place to minimize risk of bad debt and collection issues. For example, some require upfront payments for all services. The average cost for a chiropractic visit is about $100 to $150 per session, which can feel overwhelming to some patients. And even if a patient does have insurance, that insurance might not pay for the full course of treatment required to remedy the patient’s problem.
For example, Medicare currently reimburses for only a single chiropractic service, which is manual manipulation of spine-related conditions. It won’t pay for the “evaluation and management” services required to establish a treatment plan for patients.
Patient financing helps patients manage these expenses and fit them into a budget where they send monthly payments. Chiropractic practices can help patients get access to the care they need without waiting to get paid. As a result, the payment cycle is increased, risk for bad debt is decreased, and you can improve the patient experience.
Benefits to Your Practice
Patient financing allows you to better connect with patients by providing them with the funding solutions required to get access to care. They can quickly set up payment options, select a personalized payment plan, and get instant access to care. Benefits to your practice include:
Opening your doors to more patients. Chiropractic financing allows you to open your chiropractic practice to more patients who need care but don’t think they can afford it. Inclusive payment options allow you to extend financing to 100% of patients, regardless of their credit score.
Getting rid of bad debt. With out-of-pocket expenses on the rise, bad debt has steadily increased. Nearly 80% of health care entities reported bad debt growth between 6% to 20% since 2008. During a time when $5,000 and $10,000 deductibles are more common, paying medical bills is getting harder for patients. This type of financing allows you to address payment concerns upfront, offer financing, and decrease bad debt.
Getting paid faster. Patients who can pay balances and set up financing on mobile devices are happier and have a better experience. Mobile payments also get you paid faster and speed up the revenue cycle.
Increasing cash flow. Patient financing allows you the option of getting paid upfront on receivables, which can increase cash flow. As a result, you can spend less time on collection efforts and more efficiently grow your practice.
Patient financing allows you to increase your practice’s financial health and serve more patients who need financial aid. In addition to helping your business thrive, it assists patients with getting access to the care they need most without the worry of how to pay.
Benefits to Patients
Many patients want access to chiropractic care but aren’t sure how they will afford the treatment they need to get better or may be worried about their credit score. Chiropractic care financing bridges that gap and provides a variety of benefits to patients, including:
Fewer worries about “cutting treatments short.” Insurance plans might have a pre-set number of allowed chiropractic visits annually. If patients need more visits, they may be tempted to cut their treatment plan short, which could adversely affect their health. Chiropractic financing allows patients to continue with treatment because they know what each of their monthly payments will be.
Easily fit payments into the patient’s budget. A one-size-fits-all type of financing plan doesn’t work because every patient is different. Paying $50 a month might be doable for one patient but pose a financial hardship for another. Financing plans that are customizable are a benefit for patients and empower them to pick a payment that fits their budget.
Access to more treatment options. Patients might limit their treatment options based on what they can afford. Chiropractic patient financing allows them to consider treatment options that felt “too expensive” in the past. As a result, patients can put their health first, without the worry of managing costs.
Increased patient satisfaction. Personalized payment options allow patients to feel more known and understood by your practice. As a result, patients will be more loyal to your practice and come back for additional treatments.
Fuel referrals and growth. Happier customers refer more of their family and friends to your business. Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate and an 18% overall lower churn rate compared with customers acquired by other means.
What to Look For in a Financing Program
Patient financing is a powerful tool that promotes practice growth, but not all programs are created equal. Consider the following details when selecting a program for your practice:
Upfront payment on receivables. The option of getting paid upfront on receivables can help smooth out cash flow challenges. Some financing partners will allow you to sell patient receivables and get paid right away.
100% approval rates. Some patients have credit challenges and need financing options that won’t exclude them because of credit history. A financing program that enables you to accept 100% of patients allows you to offer your services to more patients.
Customizable branded portal. Patients want the ability to pay their bills online. About 56% of all bills are paid through a biller, bank, or third-party website. Tools such as mobile bill pay options and customizable branded payment portals allow your patients to pay their financing plans 24/7.
Ongoing communication tools. Some patients will opt into financing programs at the time of services, but others won’t make that decision right away. Keep the lines of communication open with automated tools that promote financing options and provide relevant information at critical points in the patient journey.
Educating Your Patients About Financing Options
Once you have the right financing program in place, it’s important to educate your patients about that service in order to make a greater impact. Consider the following:
Before the visit. Place details about financing options where customers are most likely to see them, such as on your website. During the first phone call, when a staff member is collecting insurance details and other information from the patient, make it standard to talk about flexible patient financing options.
During the visit. Use technology that provides patients with accurate, real-time details about their exact cost of care. At this time, you can tell patients about personalized financing options that are available and provide the required details for setup.
After the visit. Patients who don’t initially opt in to financing might need it later. For example, a patient might change their insurance provider and no longer have chiropractic coverage. Provide patients with ongoing, helpful details through text message, email, and other communication channels to improve the experience.
Moving Forward With Greater Success
Chiropractic care is an important treatment for many people, but some are skipping sessions because of worries about cost. Providing the resources that people need most allows you to serve more people who will benefit from care.
Selecting a program that is personalized, flexible, and supported by technology that enhances the experience allows you to create more meaningful and lasting patient relationships. These happier patients will organically spread the word about your practice, and you will experience greater cash flow and growth in the future.