Non-acute practices in focus: Patient affordability impacts non-acute physician and specialty practices too

The healthcare affordability crisis in the U.S. is well documented. Inflation has only made it worse. According to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of U.S. adults find it difficult to afford healthcare costs, and one in four say they or a family member had problems paying for healthcare in the past 12 months.

Many observers assume this problem is more relevant to hospitals and unplanned acute care, but it’s much more pervasive than that. While hospital care (54%) is the most commonly reported form of medical debt according to a recent healthcare affordability survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, doctor’s office visits accounted for 37%, ahead of emergency care at 35%, and dental care at 30%.

For non-acute physician and specialty practices, the impact is real. Higher patient deductibles, co-payments and pre-pay requirements are forcing patients to put off important procedures, risking additional health complications and ultimately increasing overall care costs. Even patients that can afford to go ahead with their procedures can run into trouble paying their care bills due to the need for additional visits with other specialists. The end result is bad for both patients and physician practices.

It does not have to be this way. Physician practices can help their patients and their business by offering more flexible and targeted patient billing and payment policies that ensure that patients don’t have to make the difficult choice to put off important procedures. And the practice can do it without taking on any financial liability in patient debt.

Intelligent payment plans tailored to patient needs

Use of payment plans for hospitals is commonplace – and can be in non-acute care as well. Modern payment systems with advanced analytics and machine learning (like Flywire) now enable providers to offer their patients intelligent payment plans that proactively take into account the estimate for the procedure required and the patient’s financial situation. In most cases, these payment plans can all be offered and set up online by the patient – with little to no staff involvement. These tools can also factor in patients’ communication preferences – text, email or paper – to build unique profiles to improve engagement.

Don’t let outdated billing and payment practices stunt the growth of your physician practice. Modern billing and payment tools can remove financial obstacles for patients, improve cash flow, reduce bad debt, and improve patient satisfaction.

Learn more about how Flywire works with non-acute practices.