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It sounds almost too good to be true: a credit card without interest for medical expenses. But if you're losing out on potential patients who can't afford skyrocketing insurance deductibles, it's no longer a question of should you offer some type of patient-specific financing plan. If the only thing you say to patients about their payment options is, "You owe $2,000 for your deductible and co-pay. We accept cash, check or credit card," there's a very real chance your cancel rates are going to spike as patients seek out care from a facility that offers patient-financing options via deferred-interest healthcare credit cards — usually a same-day approved card that lets patients pay off a balance without interest as long as they do so within a set number of months — and loans, a more-traditional fixed-interest payment spread out over several years.
How healthcare credit generally works: You enroll your facility in the program, and the financer supplies interested patients with proprietary credit cards that they can use to cover co-pays and deductibles (or private-pay surgery). The companies take an 8% to 10% transaction fee off of each bill they finance, which is about 3 times higher than rates charged by regular credit cards.
When a patient uses a healthcare credit card to cover insurance fees, you're paid up-front — minus the transaction fee — within a couple days of the financing company receiving the bill. You don't have to worry about collecting from patients before their surgery — and trying to collect from them after their surgery. That's right: no billing statements or collection calls.
The financing company takes it from there. Things are fine so long as patients pay their outstanding balances on time at low or no interest over months or years. But if the patient misses a payment, the interest rate can shoot up to a ridiculous number, and it is charged retroactively, back to the first payment.
Here are 5 key considerations when evaluating patient-financing options for your facility: