With global health care spending set to surpass $10 trillion by 2022, health care delivery is big business. However, despite the size and undoubted importance of medical care, existing health care payment systems are ineffective, inefficient, and in desperate need of changing.
In fact, it’s even been suggested that as much as 35-50% of all U.S. health care spending is wasted due to poor business processes (including payment processing).
This article will examine the main health care payment model that is currently in use, payment systems you can put in place in your practice, and what to look for in a payment processor.
When it comes to health services, there are various payment models. But as a health care provider, you likely use a fee-for-service (FFS) model — where you provide a specific service and then bill the patient for the price of that service.
This is the common payment model for primary care physicians and other outpatient clinicians, including dentists, cosmetic surgeons, and dermatologists.
Before you bill your patient, you likely submit the bill to the patient’s health plan or Medicare for reimbursement. But whatever health insurance doesn’t cover will have to be billed directly to the patient.
It’s important to choose a payment system that is both patient-friendly and benefits your practice.
Commonly, the health care industry has relied on mailed statements to seek payment. The patient would receive the statement and then send back a check for the payment amount. However, this paper-based billing is keeping you from getting paid and costing you money in the process.
But by ditching the paper statements and offering modern payment methods, you can save time and money. You might even give your patient satisfaction scores a boost by focusing on your quality of care instead chasing down payments.
Here are some prospective payment systems you can consider that will get you paid quicker and give your patients more flexibility.
Even if you follow a fee-for-service payment model, you can still give patients the option of paying their bill at the time of the service. Just make sure you can accept various forms of payment so that patients can pay by cash, debit, or credit card. You might even consider offering payment plans that give the patient even more flexibility. They could pay for part of the bill upfront and then receive an invoice for the rest.
You can still send invoices to your patients, but it doesn’t have to mean printing off statements, stuffing them in envelopes, and paying for postage. Instead, you can send invoices by email that patients can pay for online with their debit or credit card. With this method, you’ll be able to get the invoices out much quicker, and you won’t have to wait for a check to make its way back through the mail.
If your credit card payment processor provides you with a virtual terminal, you can also accept debit and credit card payments over the phone. A credit card doesn’t have to be physically present to use a virtual terminal. Simply take the patient’s payment information over the phone and enter it into the virtual terminal.
In order to accept credit card payments and implement any of the above payment systems, you’ll need to choose a payment processor.
Payment processing affects how quickly, easily, and efficiently your practice is paid. It also has a significant impact on your patients’ experiences.
As a result, you should partner with a high-quality payment processor that makes it as seamless as possible for patients to pay you — and for your practice to receive their payment.
Let’s examine what you should look for in a payment processor.
Manual processes are time- and energy-intensive, while also being incredibly error-prone. And errors aren’t just annoying — they can actively delay when you’ll be paid or even leave you open to legal issues further down the line.
The best payment processors, like Nadapayments, make the end-to-end payments process as seamless as possible by offering a unified experience.
With the Nadapayments POS, you can instantly see whatever’s happening on the credit card machine in your online virtual terminal, or you can even accept transactions via the virtual terminal itself (for instance, while speaking to a customer over the phone).
But what if customers want to pay at a later date? With Nadapayments, medical practitioners can email invoices over to their clients that contain a clickable payment link — meaning customers can swiftly pay exactly what they owe in just a few clicks.
Flexibility is key. Health care payments are complex, so it’s important to make the process as easy as possible for both health care professionals as well as their patients.
The best tools have flexibility baked into everything that they do. They provide a variety of payment options (such as in-person, online, over the phone, or using mobile devices), which in turn makes it easier for patients to use the method that works best for their financial situation.
This, therefore, makes patients more likely to pay up promptly — and it could transform their overall patient experience.
As with any business partner, you want to work with payment processors that are transparent, open, and honest. This covers everything from the fees that they charge to the data security methods and standards they follow. If potential vendors seem hesitant to answer your questions or they’re unable to provide clear answers, then consider working with alternative providers.
With less manual effort required, tools like Nadapayments speed up the payment process from start to finish. You’ll get paid quicker and stop spending unnecessary time, effort, and sanity on chasing late payers, depositing checks, or even sending out bills in the first place. With the extra time, you can focus on what’s really important: patient care.
Nadapayments’ revolutionary surcharge program allows health care practitioners to avoid credit card fees, typically resulting in a 10% annual increase in revenue. What sort of impact would these cost savings have on your practice?
As a health care provider, you must protect their patients’ data during transactions. Fortunately, in the U.S., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) stipulates common guidelines that all health care providers must follow, outlining how to keep personal health information (PHI) safe at all times.
PHI encompasses everything from patients’ names, credit card numbers, and date of birth, all the way to their medical records and Medicaid insurers’ information.
But while HIPAA compliance should always be a consideration, it doesn’t actually affect credit and debit card processing.
Why? Well, to put it simply, your merchant services provider doesn’t actually handle sensitive patient information when it comes to credit card billing and processing.
So long as you never reveal details surrounding a patient’s treatment and your processor sends customers their receipts via secured (or even encrypted) methods, then you have nothing to worry about.
Whether your practice prefers to accept in-person, online, or phone-based payments, one thing’s for certain: You need to make the payments process as easy as possible for your customers.
This means working with a payment processor that speeds up the end-to-end process, eliminates as many manual steps as possible, is flexible and transparent, and ultimately saves you money.
Nadapayments makes it easier than ever before for health care professionals to bill clients and get paid for their services. No matter which payment model you use or the services you provide, Nadapayments will transform your payment processing into a genuine value-driver for your health care organization — rather than an ongoing distraction.
If you’re ready to offer more payment options and save money in the process, reach out to us to get started today.