U.S. Hospitals Experiment with Pre-Payment Strategies for Medical Bills
Go to the hospital, come home, get a massive bill in the mail weeks later. That’s how the medical billing system usually works. According to a new report from the Huffington Post, many hospitals in America are now telling patients about their bills upfront, and people are responding positively.
It’s almost impossible to say exactly what a hospital bill will be until after a service is performed, but healthcare facilities can provide a ball-park estimate for patients. This allows recipients to work out payment plans before their care.
There are several reasons why hospital bills take weeks or months to generate. If multiple doctors are involved with the procedure, each physician has a separate bill that may be connected with the other doctors. The healthcare facility must process all insurance claims before the bill can be issued so the amount listed is an accurate depiction of the patient’s out-of-pocket costs. With pre-payment billing, hospitals try to predict these factors in advance to provide the most accurate price estimate possible.
Patients can choose to work out a payment plan with their healthcare facility, or apply for CareCredit and similar programs to cover their costs. Most hospitals and doctor’s offices will provide a discount if the bills are paid in advance.