How to better educate patients about their coverage rights and payment responsibilities
Many healthcare consumers experience confusion and stress regarding their insurance coverage and payment responsibilities. They often have questions about when payments are due, how much they’re expected to pay and why their insurance doesn’t cover a certain treatment.
This can deter patients from seeking treatment at all. It can also cause patients to stop treatment before their condition has been resolved, and those who do continue treatment will become disengaged if their confusion and stress aren’t addressed.
Fortunately, all of this can be prevented with better patient education. If you’ve recently had a patient stop treatment due to payment issues or lack of engagement, consider how well you’re explaining treatments and the associated eligibility requirements and payment responsibilities.
To keep patients informed at the start of and during treatment, use the tips shared below.
Effective patient education methods
Patient education is an ongoing process and a team effort. From front of house staff who schedule appointments and handle patient payments to those who provide patient care, all employees should be dedicated to offering the best patient education possible.
To help your staff do this, consider implementing some of the following patient education strategies:
- Offer transparent pricing
- Create flexible payment plans
- Disclose if a treatment may not be covered by insurance
Additionally, stress the importance of correcting any misinformation a patient may have about their treatment. If their insurance doesn’t cover a procedure that is deemed necessary by their physician, explain the disconnect as well as you can, and discuss other payment options or procedure alternatives.
The connection between patient education and engagement
Patient education and engagement tend to have a direct relationship. When a patient feels well-informed about their eligibility and payment responsibilities, they typically take more ownership in the process and stay up to date with payments.
But when a patient feels like they haven’t been given the proper information, the opposite occurs. They may pay their medical bills, but they may pay late or not in full.
More importantly, the patient experience suffers. While they try to sort out coverages and out-of-pocket expenses, their treatment can be delayed. Their condition could change or worsen, requiring a new treatment plan, and in turn, a change in eligibility, coverage or payments required. If the burden becomes too great, they may find another provider or stop treatment altogether.