Common Misconceptions About Online Patient Payments

Common Misconceptions About Online Patient Payments

Rising healthcare costs and higher insurance deductibles mean that patients are paying a larger portion of their medical bills. As a result, many are left figuring out how to fit larger bills into their existing budgets. This puts pressure on medical practices to create more cost transparency, make paying bills easier, and give people the resources they need when they’re struggling to afford care.

Online payments are a powerful tool. However, there are many misconceptions about these resources and how your patients will use them. We’re debunking common myths to show you how to get paid faster while helping your patients get the care they need most.

Myth #1: Patients only want paper statements

Over half of Americans pay their bills online, yet most practices still use some form of paper billing and patient collections. In fact, over 50% of patients in a recent survey reported that they prefer to receive electronic medical billing and payment collections. Patients also reported they are more likely to pay medical bills if they have the option of doing so online.

Practices can increase receivables by allowing patients to make payments when convenient through a fully customizable practice-branded payment portal. Practices can also send payment options through text message or email to allow patients to pay via smartphone or tablet.

Myth #2: Patients don’t want automation

Patients are already using automated payments in all corners of their lives, from ordering restaurant delivery to groceries to online shopping. And studies show that people are only planning to increase their use of card-on-file technologies in the future. Half of respondents in a recent survey reported they plan to increase their use of card-on-file payments with retailers, and 22% plan to increase spending through mobile applications.

This payment type allows you to securely store patient card details and automate the collection of bills in accordance with the patient agreement.

Myth #3: Patients aren’t willing to pay upfront

One of the top struggles for medical practices is collecting on old receivables and bad debt. Most medical practices (73%) take a month or longer to collect payments. However, patients are willing to pay at the time of service, but the key is to be upfront about the amount owed and set expectations before the visit.

For example, you can use an accurate estimate tool prior to the visit to inform the patient of their financial responsibility and explain that payment is due at the time of service. If paying the bill is a struggle for the patient, you can have that conversation upfront and offer resources rather than struggle with bad debt in the future.

Myth #4: Older patients aren’t willing to pay online

Many practices worry that older patients aren’t willing to adopt online payment options. However, an article published by McKinsey called this idea one of the largest misconceptions about healthcare technology.

Older patients are often willing to pay bills online and welcome having additional resources to get their bills paid faster. They appreciate any upfront transparency about the amount owed and enjoy tools that make their experience easier.

Myth #5: Patient payment plans create more work for staff

Some practices avoid setting up payment plans because of concerns about increasing existing staff workload. With the rising cost of healthcare, however, a larger amount of the bill must be paid by patients, and payment plans are needed now more than ever. 

Practices have the ability to offer flexible and personalized automated payment plans or financing options through a trusted partner to improve the patient experience. With ClearGage, practices can offer automated payment plans that are not financed, but has the ability to store card information and automate payments on a monthly basis. This offloads time-consuming tasks and frees up staff to focus on other areas. Additionally, you can promote practice growth by opening the door to more people who want treatment but don’t think they can afford care. 

Look for a plan that is 100% inclusive and accepts all patients regardless of their credit situation.

Moving into the future with greater cash flow

Patients are struggling with increased financial pressure from healthcare costs. You can gain a competitive advantage and make it easier for them to pay medical bills by making the payment process easier and offering flexible payment plans when needed.

Patients will appreciate greater transparency into their medical costs and enjoy simplified transactions with online payment options. As a result, they will continue visiting your practice and feel excited to refer friends and family, helping your practice thrive into the future.