Creating Effective Patient Payment Plans

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American Society for Surgery of the Hand – April 2011
Cheyenne Brinson, MBA, CPA

cover_ASSH_Apr2011_CreatingEffectivePaymentPlans_CB_Page_1High deductibles, co-insurance, self pay, oh my! Gone are the days that insurance paid for everything. More and more patients are responsible for a much greater portion of their health care costs leaving you the hand surgeon tasked with collecting from the patient, not the insurance company. How savvy is your business office with setting payment plans with patients and collecting on them?

Let’s examine a real life scenario. For example, Polly Patient is a candidate for carpal tunnel surgery. Polly is a receptionist at a professional office and earns $12/hour or approximately $25,000 annually. Polly has a high deductible health plan and her deductible is $2,500. Her deductible has not been met. The professional fee for the carpal tunnel surgery in this hypothetical example is $2,000. What is the likelihood that Polly, who earns $480/week, pre-tax, has the ability to pay $2,000 all at once? Even a 50% deposit is more than what she earns on a bi-weekly basis. What would your staff do in this situation?

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