As more Americans are signing for high-deductible health insurance plans, it is changing how families plan for their medical procedures, as well as prompting hospitals to change how they help families plan for their medical bills.
Hospitals have had to calculate how to have billing conversations even before patients arrive at the hospital, train some of their staff on how to explain insurance benefits to patients and sometimes hire third-party companies like PatientMatters to manage the interactions with patients.
Today, about 25% of Americans have a high-deductible plan. Companies including as PatientMatters, a Florida-based entity, help hospitals with technologies that can allow them to better know their patients, and it trains their staff to have accurate conversations specific to each patient.
Depending on the patients’ financial status, options can range from interest-free loans, payment plans and in some cases, a discount, if the patient can pay the full amount they owe up front. The company is not involved in bill collection, but has contracts with more than 130 hospitals and health systems, providing them with its propitiatory technology and staff training.