Is Cash Pay Healthcare The Future? How Providers Can Make HDHP Insurance Work
Cash pay healthcare is having a moment.
With more than half of Americans enrolled in high deductible healthcare plans, patients are — intentionally or not — choosing cash pay healthcare, at least until their high deductibles are met. That affects how practices manage patient payments, starting at or before the time of service. To understand how practices can make cash pay healthcare work to their advantage, you have to understand why this shift is happening.
What is cash pay healthcare?
Traditionally, cash pay healthcare has referred to any provider who doesn’t take insurance and instead accepts cash for services. In this instance, “cash” refers to actual cash, e-payment, cards, checks — any payment method where money changes hands immediately at the time of service.
While cash pay healthcare has traditionally been leveraged by the uninsured, underinsured or disenfranchised, that’s changing. As patients are being asked to take on more financial responsibility for their healthcare costs, they’re becoming even more curious and discerning consumers. They want predictability, transparency and convenience around billing. Many believe cash pay healthcare offers that, either as a standalone option or in combination with a high deductible healthcare plan (HDHP insurance).
What is a HDHP?
A high deductible health plan, or HDHP insurance, revolves around a deductible, which is a set amount of money an insured person must pay out of pocket for healthcare before insurance will start covering costs. While HDHP insurance requires patients to pay more upfront, monthly premiums are lower.
Traditionally, that’s made high deductible healthcare a good option for young, healthy people, or anyone who doesn’t need to access healthcare often. However, many patients today are opting for HDHP insurance because it allows them to “pay cash” upfront for the limited healthcare services they do use but also covers them in case of catastrophic illness.
What do cash pay healthcare and HDHP insurance mean for providers?
More high deductible healthcare plans means more payment processing from patient to provider. Knowing that a patient has not met their deductible, savvy practices will often go ahead and collect an estimated patient responsibility at the time of service or even before. That safeguards against challenges providers face — namely a slow, inefficient claims process that can leave your practice facing denials, delays and months-long lags in payment collection.
How to make cash pay healthcare work for your practice
The most critical step to leveraging cash pay healthcare is proactive payment collection. By generating invoices at the time of service, patients can pay immediately, or soon after. That leads to fewer forgotten payments, less time spent by staff following up and an improved cash flow — an issue faced by 66% of small-to-medium businesses. Furthermore, when patients can view their bill through email or text, as well as electronic or paper statements, they’re more likely to pay because you’re meeting them on their terms.
PayGround offers all of the features practices need to make the collections process seamless, including:
- Digital-first payment requests
- Online payments from any device
- Patient-level payment tracking
- Contactless and stored payment methods
- Automated follow-up for outstanding payments
And those features get results: PayGround providers experience a 23% increase in collections within the first 90 days.