As 2017 draws to an end, most medical providers are facing two challenges - an influx of procedures from those that have met their deductibles for the year and the dreaded dip in procedures at the start of 2018 as deductibles reset. While the end of year increase can have a positive impact on the revenue cycle, the scheduling and logistics for the unpredictable number of patients is difficult to manage. All of the adjustments for the high volume will then have to swing drastically the other direction at the start of the year. Not only are more and more patients burdened with high-deductible plans, but the coverage of these plans is expected to decrease while the cost continues to rise. A recent article from HealthiPass outlines the budget difficulties of patients and the impact to the medical provider's revenue cycle.
How long the usual dry spell will extend in 2018 will be the wild card. With higher deductibles and less coverage, the load on patient budgets may be such that any non-emergency medical issue, whether covered after the deductible or not, may be left untreated.
This problem is not unfamiliar to medical providers; however, it is continually becoming more of an encumbrance to the provider. HealthiPass and several other experts in the industry recommend ways to mitigate the gap in procedures, but one recommendation can help avoid the gap all together. The common struggle patients are facing is higher out-of-pocket expenses without any ability to budget for the unexpected increase in expenses.
While it would be great if the dip in healthcare services was due to a healthier population, this is not the case. People still need medical care, but they are being forced to make a financial decision about the level of care they receive. Instead, the patient should be offered a payment arrangement that does not cause unbearable financial stress so they can make the right decision about the medical care they need. Patient account financing options such as MyLoans allow the patient to budget payments toward medical bills while the provider still receives 100% of the bill paid upfront. If patients know they have an option that doesn't require them to wait until the end of the year, medical providers may be able to avoid the gap in procedures as deductibles reset. In time, as patients become accustomed to a low interest, manageable monthly payment, a dramatic reduction in the seasonality of healthcare could be seen.
About Epic River
Since its inception in 2005, Epic River has been providing financial institutions with software and services for process and revenue improvement. MyLoans, our Patient Lending solution, partners financial institutions and healthcare providers to offer low interest loans to cover patient balances. Practices, surgery centers and hospitals get immediate funding of their patient’s outstanding balances and patients avoid financial harm.