LendingClub : Losing Patients to High Deductible Insurance Plans? Third-Party Patient Financing Gives People with Sleep Disorders More Time to Pay
Like it or not, high deductible health plans have resulted in patients shortchanging their healthcare.
According to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of
With such findings, there are sleep patients out there who need diagnosis, treatment, or management, but cannot afford to immediately pay their entire balance in full. But with thin profitability margins, sleep medicine practices may similarly not be able to provide courtesy payment extensions to patients. So some have found that outsourcing patient financing to companies that specialize in it allows for a happy medium: The practice is paid in full immediately, and the patient has a workable amount of time to pay their high deductible.
“Something as simple as a clinic visit for a sleep consultation, a sleep study, a follow-up, or even equipment for a CPAP all goes to your deductible,” Leadley says. “We already know it’s going to get applied to the deductible so we choose not to wait for the insurance to say it’s applied to the deductible. We just plan ahead and work with the patient with options like Parasail and CareCredit so they can pay us up front.”
Prior to outsourcing financing options about 4 years ago,
Because patient financing companies typically specialize in certain types of medical procedures, accept patients with different credit scores, and offer varying interest rates, some practices opt for multiple options. And, relevant to obstructive sleep apnea patients who are referred to dentists for treatment, there are also some patient financing firms that specialize in dental practices, such as
“Dental insurance and health savings accounts may cover only a portion of cost, so when a dental emergency arises, many turn to credit cards, personal loans, their retirement plan, or their home’s equity—all of which can carry high interest rates and fees and can have a lasting impact on their finances,” Gilroy says.
In LendingClub’s view, there are three main benefits for providers offering outsourced patient financing: more cases started, more comprehensive treatment for more patients, and less administrative hassle due to limited accounts receivable and fewer collection problems.
Parasail Health’s CEO
Although Parasail is confident in its application process—which Tibbs says takes “less than 2 minutes to complete”—the company admits that “it is still not as easy as swiping a credit card” and that the amount won’t earn the user airline points or other attractive perks that some credit cards boast. Still, “we think it’s worth it because the patient will end up with a better deal typically,” Tibbs says.
Parasail is also experimenting with issuing loans with its own underwriting model, which would allow for “even better interest rates and more flexible payment terms,” Tibbs says.
In fact, Leadley with
CareCredit, the other financing option offered at
“Patients can get the care they want and need without delay,” Salzman says, adding, “Practices have a solution for out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, and copays that enables patients to pay over time, while the practices receive payments within two business days.”
A sleep apnea patient who CareCredit refers to as “Susan T.” provided a testimonial to the company: “My spouse no longer wanted to sleep with me because of my snoring,” she wrote. “I went to my dentist and she recommended a mouthpiece that they would custom fit for me. I couldn’t afford a $500+ mouthpiece, but because I had CareCredit, I was able to order it, have it custom fitted, and now I don’t snore so much, or loud.”
Salzman points out financing plans help the providers too. CareCredit (and its competitors) takes care of billing and collecting, “so the provider and their staff can focus on their patients’ needs and on other valuable tasks,” he says.
Valley Sleep Center’s Leadley can attest to the relief it experiences via financing options. She says, “It’s a lot easier for the front desk to work with a patient and provide options versus [telling them] you need to pay this right now.”
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