Providing a New Patient Experience: Financial Care

Posted by Norman Woolworth | Jan 12, 2020 8:44:34 AM

From the emergency room to the accounting department, healthcare professionals want to support their organizations’ mission to deliver care, to do no harm, and to be part of a team that builds goodwill in their communities. But with today’s high-deductible insurance plans, patients pay more out of their own pockets, healthcare providers deplete more resources on collections, and billing managers find themselves in a regrettable new role: creditor. This wasn’t the professional path they chose, nor is it a path toward a positive patient experience.

Financial Tipping Point

Many patients don’t have a rainy day fund. When hit with an unexpected bill for their entire deductible, many are unable to pay.

 Patients are left with few options, none of them good:

  • They can pay their deductible using a high-interest credit card that accrues compounding daily interest at rates that can exceed 25%. Even with a medical bill of a few thousand dollars, this precarious debt burden can mean years of financial strife.

  • Providers’ no-interest financing plans are usually short-term, which means higher monthly payments, which can lead to collection conflicts.

  • When patients’ unpaid balances are turned over to collections, it harms their credit scores. More and more, providers are suing patients. These escalating situations are alienating provider/patient relationships, and tarnishing reputations.

Epic Benefits

In partnership with the Epic River Patient Lending Network, healthcare providers can get paid up front and in full for the care they deliver, allowing them to replace burdens with benefits:

  • Even unbanked, under-insured and younger patients can immediately qualify for a loan through a partner community bank or credit union. There is no credit check required.

  • Interest is fixed at a low rate, and spread out over longer terms than providers typically offer. Patients can choose their own monthly payment amounts, with no prepayment penalties.

  • Patient loans are established using simple interest rates, which are based only on the principal, not compound rates, which are calculated on the principal plus the subsequent interest accumulated over time.

  • Transparency is paramount. Patients can see up front the total finance charges over the lifetime of the loan. Simple interest is easy to understand, and there is no small print or hidden fees.
The bank gains a new customer, the provider maintains the relationship of caregiver instead of creditor, and the patient is grateful for a stress-free financial solution that works for them. As a bonus, many will appreciate the chance to improve their credit scores and bankability, not to mention new life opportunities with more access to financing.

Billing managers remain patients’ friends, not foes, in contributing to their organizations’ mission to provide the best healthcare, and now the best financial care. With this solution, everyone’s ships can start rising together without waiting for the government to fix the problems.

Topics: medical finance, medical loans, patient lending

Written by Norman Woolworth

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