It’s no secret that the gaps in insurance coverage for healthcare are growing. Patients are increasingly facing higher out-of-pocket costs, some of which can have a significant impact on their bank accounts.
A popular trend to help ease the financial burden is medical crowdfunding. Now, crowdfunding has been around for many years, but online platforms have become increasingly popular in the last decade or so. With medical crowdfunding, people can share their story and ask for donations to help cover their medical bills.
The popular website GoFundMe has reported that its platform is used to raise $650 million in healthcare campaigns every year. Crowdfunding is an innovative solution, but it’s a solution that is also revealing just how pervasive this problem has become.
How Medical Crowdfunding Can Create Problems
Raising money through online sources is a patch, not a cure, for the growing gaps in healthcare coverage. On these crowdfunding sites, fundraisers post their story as a way to ask for donations. One major problem that can come into play is patient privacy. Once that campaign is live, it is easily shareable.
Another concern is the accuracy of the stories. For instance, some fundraisers do not disclose the fact that the treatment they are raising money for was experimental. Some experts suggest that this lack of disclosure can unintentionally mislead the public.
What Providers Can Do
While patients are certainly financially responsible for their care, it is becoming more and more clear that there is a problem in the world of healthcare finance. The more accommodating you and your practice can be, the less likely you are to lose patients to someone cheaper or more convenient.
One way to appeal to patients’ bank accounts is to offer flexible or lower-cost options, like telehealth. Many times telehealth appointments can be cheaper for the patient than in-office visits. This will depend on your telehealth provider, so do your research first.
One health system has opted to make their care feel more like any other retail experience. They’ve instated a money-back satisfaction guarantee. The program has been quite successful and has significantly helped build patient loyalty.
Another way to positively impact patient financial responsibility is to be transparent about prices upfront. Consider offering an estimate (as accurate as you can make it) that also includes their insurance coverage. The more patients can budget for a procedure, especially if it’s non-emergency, the more likely they are to make payments on time.
The Case for Automated Reminders
Have you considered offering a payment plan? Many times people are drawn to payment plans because they don’t have to pay for everything at once. This strategy can be a great way to increase patient payment rates, but you might be worried about all the necessary follow-ups.
This is where a digital engagement platform can help. PatientBond uses psychographic segmentation to understand your patients’ preferences, behaviors and motivations related to their health and wellness. The platform then leverages these insights to send messages that actually resonate with healthcare consumers and motivate them to pay. It also includes automated reminders so you don’t have to worry about chasing down your patients to remind them of their upcoming billing date.
In the age of medical crowdfunding, using segmented messaging is an effective way to make your messages count when it comes to closing the financial gap for patients. Not only can you send them the right information that makes them likely to respond, but you’ll also reach them in the best way possible. This platform has also saved facilities $750 a day on paper statements because of the automated reminders it offers. By providing as much information to your patients as possible, you can collect patient financial responsibility while simultaneously improving care.
For more on the PatientBond platform and how it maximizes patient payment collections, download our case study.