Healthcare pricing can be complicated. When it comes to healthcare, knowing the upfront cost is not always easy. For many patients, they do not always know what a diagnostic test, an in-office procedure, or surgery costs until they receive a bill from their doctor or a letter from their health plan. As a patient, this uncertainty can make it hard to plan for and manage their finances. As a healthcare provider, what can you do to elevate the stress that comes along with this part of your patient’s journey to care? Here are a few practical tips on how to utilize your website to provide some helpful information and resources to patients so that they can better understand their out-of-pocket costs.
Add a listing of frequently asked billing questions to your website.
This one may seem simple but it’s amazing how many medical groups forget to add this. Take the top five or ten questions that your billing department staff frequently get and post answers to those questions on your website. This may help to elevate some of the calls that your office gets. Don’t forget to post a phone number for your billing department so that patients can easily get in touch if they have additional questions.
Post a listing of the top procedures and or services you perform.
Post a listing of the technical name for each of your top services or procedures, their associated CPT4 codes, a listing of tests that are typically needed beforehand as well as information about follow-up care that is likely to be needed afterward. This information allows your patients to contact their health plan to get a better estimate of their out-of-pocket costs.
Adding an online pricing directory like this example to your website that includes this information can be helpful.
Add a “request a cost estimate” form to your website.
Adding a secure online form to your website makes it easy for patients to request an estimate from your office. Your cost estimate should include information about what is included and what is not. Be sure to also include the contact information for companies that provide items or services that are not included in your estimate.
Link to health plan online pricing calculators.
Health plans often include an online pricing calculator on their websites. These tools allow patients to enter the information they’ve received from you and quickly find the estimated cost of common services or procedures offered. On your website, add links to the various health plans you participate with so that patients can take the next step.
Post information about health financing options.
If you offer a payment plan offered by a third party, such as a bank, credit union, or credit card company, post some information about it in your website’s financing section. Be sure to include a link to that company so that patients can request more information if they are interested.
These are some simple steps you can take to enable access to meaningful information so patients can make informed choices. As healthcare providers, help your patients navigate this process and understand their options.