5 Consumer Payment Factors Medical Practices Should Consider

Consider this: You have a patient who’s ready to move forward with a procedure or treatment, but they don’t have enough cash or credit available to pay, so they – unfortunately – waive the service altogether or ask for a discount.

Or, perhaps your practice offers a financing option, but this particular patient doesn’t qualify or can’t get approved to finance the entire cost – here again, forcing them to decline a medical treatment or product that they need.

As a professional in the medical industry, you undoubtedly see this almost every day.

Knowing patients aren’t getting the medical services or equipment they need or want is an unsettling feeling for medical professionals and practices across the country – leaving many searching for low monthly payments through installment credit that can be obtained for more customers.

Consumer Financing Solutions: Are You Meeting as Many Patient Payment Needs as Possible?

After medical insurance, the most widely-used payment options in the medical industry are credit cards (revolving credit) and cash (HSA, FSA, cash).

With your end goal of meeting patients’ needs and offering every patient a financing option that suits their budget, it’s worth it to ask yourself:

  • Is the consumer financing solution available to as many patients as possible?
  • Is the consumer financing solution a good option for all my customers?
  • What works in the best interest of both my patients and my practice?
  • Is the financing program tailored to my practice?

When looking for a better option or reevaluating your current consumer financing solution, it’s important to consider the following five factors:

The Right Consumer Financing Option Can Help You Provide Care to More Patients

5 Factors to Keep Top of Mind:

  1. How to Approve More Patients: By aligning your practice with the right payment option, you can say yes to patients who previously could not afford your service and help service patients with less-than-perfect or limited credit.
    • Installment credit, or fixed-term financing methods can approve a patient with credit that is not optimum – ultimately helping more patients secure financing.
    • Health-care credit cards might not approve patients with less than ideal credit or, if they do, they approve for a very low limit.
  2. How to Finance the Total Cost of Services: Through certain financing methods, your patients can finance the total cost of services.
    • Installment credit, or fixed-term financing methods, typically has a higher dollar limit. This is not only exceedingly advantageous for patients, but it’s also beneficial for medical providers because they can provide their total cost of services or products without the need for discounts.
    • Revolving and health-care credit methods usually involve a spend limit, where – depending on the total cost of service – can mean a patient can’t pay for the entire procedure or equipment.
  3. How to Understand Merchant Fees: Regardless of which credit-related payment options your practice offers, there are unavoidable business fees. Certain payment methods, however, allow you to keep more of your money.
    • Installment credit, or fixed-term financing methods require merchants to only pay a fee when financing a customer.

      With a fixed-term financing method, there are:

      • No minimum fees
      • No monthly fees
      • No up-front or application fees
      • No requirement on how often a merchant uses the financing service
      • No recourse program
      • A percentage of the total amount financed – because with a no recourse program, UCFS assumes liability of consumer repayment, not the business.
      • An additional processing fee for a same-as-cash financing option, because the finance charge is eliminated on the contracts.
    • Health-care credit cards come tied to various fees, such as:
      • A fee for the merchant to sign up (application fee)
      • A monthly non-usage fee if the merchant doesn’t utilize the credit method enough
      • A percentage of the total amount financed
      • An additional processing fee for a same-as-cash financing option
    • Major credit cards can provide some of the lowest merchant fees. However, so few patients can or are willing to charge thousands of dollars to max out their card.

    When a patient uses a major credit card, merchants will pay a smaller processing fee. Patients, on the other hand, bear the brunt of the fees with a high interest rate.

    There is also always the risk with major credit cards that a patient won’t have enough available credit to finance the entire service. Here again, forcing them to waive the service or ask for a discount.

  4. How to Help Patients Achieve Repayment Success: Not every payment option has your patient’s best interest in mind, but through specific routes, you can give your patients the best opportunity to repay.
    • Installment credit, or fixed-term financing methods gives patients the best opportunity to repay their account in full. Patients pay a low, fixed amount per month with a set end date that helps them completely pay off medical costs for the exact amount of the installment contract – all while on a term that meets their monthly budget.

    With fixed-term financing methods, the APR is usually set no matter what a consumer’s credit is. Of course, just like health-care and revolving credit methods, if a same as cash promotion is not met, interest will kick in.

    • Health-care and revolving credit methods allow patients to pay a minimum monthly amount. While this may seem like the preferred route to many patients, it actually sets them up for years and years of – you guessed it – revolving credit that could span close to 10 years. In the end, this can be more of a burden on patients.

    For revolving credit terms, a consumer could make a minimum monthly payment that takes decades to pay off, and interest could double the original purchase price. With major credit cards, a consumer could max out their credit card and not have room for every-day spending.

    Additionally, with health-care and revolving credit methods, if a patient has poor credit, they may be stuck with a high APR.

  5. How to Get Patients to Refer Friends and Family to You: Ultimately, the quality of your services is what drives your practice and reputation forward. You know this better than anyone.

    It’s important to keep in mind that all the extras you do for your patients don’t go unnoticed, and with something as significant as a helpful financing option – that ensures your practice and patients benefit – it can be the incremental difference in gaining more referrals and revenue.

With UCFS, a Leading Provider of Fixed-Term Consumer Financing, You Can Approve More Patients

With United Consumer Financial Services, you can help patients find relief in obtaining the medical treatment or equipment they need and finance the entire procedure or purchase through an option that is favorable to your patients and your practice on multiple levels.

We work with medical industry professionals to provide the best consumer financing services available today.

Are your payment options helping as many patients as possible and helping you grow your top and bottom line?

Learn more about partnering with UCFS or contact us today at 877-373-3482.