Part of the Job: How to Help Patients Who Can’t Pay Their Bills

patient and doctor

Millions of Americans are having a hard time paying their medical bills. Studies have found that approximately 79 million Americans, or 32% of the overall population, struggle with medical bills. This isn’t their fault, considering that treatments, procedures, and medication are all expensive worldwide. However, there are various ways to get through this.

If you have recently set up your clinic and are new to the profession, you might have encountered some patients who cannot pay their bills. This can be pretty hard to handle, but you can help them out by following some of these suggestions.

Government Policies

The government helps patients to pay their medical bills through various policies. This means that in most cases, you’re not inherently reliable to help them out pay their bills. However, these policies depend on which state your clinic is located in.

Some hospitals and clinics in the US are required to offer free services or deducted payments for patients with low economic status. Check if you are one of the clinics that have this policy. Suppose you choose to make your services accessible (depends on the particular medical service) or deduct payments from your patient. In that case, they can prove they are part of the low-socioeconomic bracket. It can be a tough choice, considering that you have to make a living out of your career, but some patients are covered by government-issued insurance, so the insurance company will most likely pay for the costs. If you are willing to help your patients further, there are various ways you can do that.

Do it by Credit

If your clinic has a credit system implemented or if you’re working with a local bank, you can consider negotiating with them to help your patients pay for their bills through credit. Credit gives your patients a chance to pay for their bills slowly instead of paying for them entirely. This can provide your patients the breathing room they need to pay for their bills. However, make sure that the interest rates aren’t all that high, or else it’ll be more problematic for the patients to pay for it. If you currently don’t have a credit system implemented in your clinic, consider negotiating with a local bank.

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Negotiations

You can negotiate with your patient regarding their bills. This is the easiest way to help patients to pay for their accounts. Some services may be removed from their bill if you are willing to do it. As a person in charge of your clinic, you have the authority to lower your bills whenever you find it necessary. Additionally, you can help them check if there are discrepancies in their medical bill. Check if each treatment did indeed happen to them.

Furthermore, some items might have been added by your financial officer because of the protocol. These items might not have been used, so feel free to remove that from your patient’s medical bills. It’s crazy to think that about 80% of medical bills have some error in them. The inherent problem behind this is that medical professionals aren’t asked to make the bill themselves. Ensure to check the bills that your patient has before giving the bill to them because there is a big chance that they have been billed incorrectly.

Donations

Donations are one of the best ways to help patients pay their medical bills. However, it’s not the most reliable. You can always ask your patient if they can find any advocates willing to pay their bills. You can also help them out to find these advocates.

If you’re looking to support some patients in your clinic through donations and other means, you can consider getting a patient advocacy organization partnership. This partnership can help you raise the needed funds for some patients who can’t afford treatment. It can also help you to find people who are looking back to give back to the community. Your clinic doesn’t have to handle it alone. You can always find help from many advocacy groups.

By the end of the day, know that the cost of the medical bills in your clinic is not your fault. It’s also not your patient’s fault for not being able to pay for it. But what you can do is help them find ways to decrease the cost to pay for it. You can also educate them regarding where they can get help and how they can get help. All of these matters in your profession, and it’s crucial when you are new to it.

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