Payment processing in healthcare is one of the most complex and challenging problems facing the industry. As technology and policies continue to evolve, healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with the financial side of patient care.
It can also be difficult navigating the subtle nuances of connectivity, hardware, and contracts for dozens, possibly hundreds of patients a day.
If you work in the healthcare industry, it’s crucial to have a firm understanding of these issues to find new and better solutions moving forward.
Problems with Payment Processing in Healthcare
The most important issue is protecting patient information through proper HIPPA compliance. As a provider, you should be aware of the stringent conditions that need to be met to follow this level of compliance. HIPPA helps protect patients from data breaches that occur due to a lack of security measures put in place by healthcare providers. You might be aware of this fact, but that doesn’t mean your payment processor is up to date on the latest compliance policies.
BillingTree is HIPPA compliant and goes to great lengths to ensure our employees know the ins and outs of these policies, so our partners are always protected.
Because massive data breaches can heavily impact your business and your reputation, you need to verify that your healthcare payment processor is both PCI and HIPAA compliant.
Patients Pay in Different Ways
Unlike retail transactions, patients typically don’t pay at the time of service, nor do they pay the entire amount. Some can’t afford the burden of their medical bills and need to make monthly payments for a set period.
In fact, it usually takes most healthcare providers more than a month to collect payment from their patients. To simplify, patients wait weeks to receive a statement of their charges, while you wait for the insurance company to pay their percentage of the care your patient received. This process takes a while, and the turnaround time costs your business time, money, and resources.
To accommodate, providers will offer payment plans, financing options, credit card on file (CCOF), and early payment discounts.
If you want to offer these features to your patients, you’ll need a payment processor that uses them and ensures each payment method is secure by meeting the latest compliance policies.
Neglecting to Inform Patients about Financial Responsibility
This problem is widespread and typically caused by the lag time between patient care and payment. As stated above, patients don’t usually pay right away. Their bill must go through multiple channels and takes more than a month to process in most cases.
At the end of the day, the patient often has no idea of their responsibility, and you could be left in limbo waiting for your staff to track down their information, wasting valuable time.
Having a simple payment portal gives your patients the power to set up payment plans and manage their bills, freeing your staff to focus on patient care.