As more people become covered under high deductible health plans, patients are responsible for paying a larger portion of their medical bill.
Here, three ASC administrators discuss how they meet the challenges of more patients with high deductible plans and handle patient responsibility.
Jarett Landman. CEO of Orthopedic Surgical Center of the North Shore (Peabody, Mass.): Education, like all things, is paramount. We take ample time to review patient responsibility before arriving at the center and try our best to be transparent with costs. We remind patients, in an empathetic way, that the deductible is the patient's covenant with their insurer as a term of their coverage, not an inflated charge from the center. We also recommend medical consumerism, particularly asking patients to 'rate shop' local hospitals. Almost all of the patients return to us after seeing the impact on their deductible for the same procedure in the hospital setting!
Kris Kilgore, RN. Administrative Director of Surgical Center of Michigan (Grand Rapids): We now have assigned one staff member from our accounts receivable department to send a letter two weeks prior to surgery to collect co-pays and deductibles, with a follow-up call three days before surgery if it is not collected after the letter.
Alfonso del Granado. Administrator of Ashton Center for Day Surgery (Hoffman Estates, Ill.): We request payment upfront for the entire deductible, though we do make limited exceptions and sometimes offer short-term payment plans — three to six months — if placed on auto-pay with the patient's credit card. We have also had to contract with most big payers because the out-of-network deductibles are impossible for patients to afford.