In the hopes of making it easier for patients to price shop for non-urgent services, on January 1, 2021, CMS made it mandatory for hospitals to publicly publish their standard and negotiated fees for 300 shoppable services online in a machine-readable format. While this rule doesn’t apply to private practices, many practices may benefit from publishing their pricing for services, and here’s why.
Why price shopping online for healthcare services is “a thing”
Today, many patients juggle with understanding their out-of-pocket costs from the high deductible and consumer-driven health plans that they signed up for. As a result, patients are asking how much each doctor’s visit and procedure will cost and what will be considered out-of-pocket for them. For patients, getting this information hasn’t always been easy. CMS is hoping that this rule will change that by mandating easy online access to pricing information.
How price transparency can positively affect medical practices
Even though practices do not have to abide by the CMS price transparency rule, they should still consider publishing their prices online. Why? Patients may be surprised to see that the cost of the same procedure can vary widely based on where it’s performed — at a hospital or in-office at a private practice. Since CMS reimburses hospital doctors and services at a higher rate than private practitioners, hospital costs mean that private practices may be able to charge much less for the same services.
As a private practice that can offer a lower-cost option, publishing your prices on your website can not only attract new patients seeking pricing information but also requests for your services. Using a web-based pricing tool can better capture contact information that leads to new patients.
Using online pricing to your competitive advantage
Review your competitor’s website to see whether or not they have posted pricing. If they haven’t, this is a key opportunity to get out in front of them and offer a competitive edge. If they’ve posted their pricing, you may want to do as well. Be sure to also include the personal touches that patients enjoy in your office that they might not receive from your competitors. Promote your in-house imaging, labs, accessible records, convenient locations, and free parking.
Enhancing patient satisfaction
Patients can become dissatisfied with their experience if they receive an unexpected bill. With price transparency, patients now have the tools to compare fees easily online. Being transparent with your pricing is a proactive way to avoid receiving a poor review brought on by an unpleasant billing experience. Your website should also include detailed information regarding the many factors that determine a patient’s bill including insurance, deductibles, and third-party charges. This will help to elevate the many questions that may come up regarding billing.
Getting started with price transparency
Private practices have a unique opportunity to attract new patients by using price transparency as a competitive advantage. If patients are not already asking about your prices, they will be soon. Be prepared and add an online pricing tool to your practice website.
Practis can help. Ask us about our online pricing tool.