With the rise in “healthcare consumerism,” providers are facing a new challenge: how to collect payments from patients. In the past, healthcare payment methods primarily involved insurers and government agencies. Now more patients are satisfying higher deductibles, using payment cards linked to health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or looking for payment plans for services not covered by insurers.
Integrating a feature-rich payments solution with the healthcare software application you develop can multiply the value you can provide to your clients and prospects — especially if your solution makes payments easier for patients.
Patient-Engaging Healthcare Payment Methods
From a healthcare organization’s perspective, payment methods that rely on the patient, rather than an insurer, are less predictable. Therefore, providers are looking for healthcare payment methods that engage patients and encourage them to pay their bills — and pay them on time. Here are five ways ISVs can help make it happen:
- Communication solutions with integrated payments
If your solution is designed to help patients communicate with healthcare practitioners, also include a way that patients can access their billing accounts. It can take weeks or months before patients receive bills, so adding reminders to a communication solution can help them connect the dots between the care they receive and the payment due. It’s also smart to let patients know as early as possible about the balance due so they can budget for the expense — and a communication solution can be an excellent vehicle for keeping patients informed.
- Easy online payments
If your solution can direct patients to an online payments portal, is that experience easy for patients? Make sure the payments solution you integrate with your software aligns with the great user experience that you’ve designed for your application. Also, make sure it’s easy for all demographics to use — font should be readable and instructions easily comprehensible. The payments portal should also be intuitive to navigate, with minimal pages and requiring minimal clicks. Tokenization can make the process simpler by securely associating patient data with tokens, so patients don’t have to reenter information each time they visit the site.
- Fast, in-person payments
Patients are impatient with long waits. The 9th Annual Vitals Wait Time Report found that 30 percent of patients have walked out of an appointment after a long wait and 20 percent have changed doctors due to long wait times. If your client is working to keep wait times to a minimum — and patient satisfaction at a maximum — the last thing they want to do is have them wait in line to pay a copay or settle a bill. Choose a payments solution that supports fast card-present payments, regardless of the payment type the patient uses. Also, ensure the solution will provide a good user experience on self-service kiosks if a healthcare provider chooses to deploy them to accept copays.
- Mobile payments
For home health practitioners and therapists equipped with mobile devices, integrate a payments solution that enables them to accept payments quickly and easily. Make sure the payment solution is mobile-friendly with easy-to-read read screens and signature capture, and providers can print receipts from their mobile printers.
- Recurring billing
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that out-of-pocket spending for copays, deductibles, and other amounts not covered by insurance has risen to $365.5 billion in 2017, 10 percent of health spending in the U.S.
With patients footing more of the bill, it’s possible that they may not be able to pay the invoice total all at once. A payment plan with recurring billing can solve the problem for the patient and bring revenue in faster to the healthcare provider. Make sure the payments solution you choose to integrate with your application can support recurring billing and keep payment data current with Account Updater, which will save your clients the time of chasing after new card information.
Your application is designed to provide your clients with new capabilities and greater efficiency. That’s also a winning strategy for healthcare payment methods. Solutions that address changes in the industry by making payment processes simple, easy, and accessible will have ROI that’s easy for your prospects to see if, in addition to everything else your application does, it also helps them collect payments.