In recent news it was revealed that Michigan doctors offices are requiring that, patients present and utilize their credit cards before getting any medical care. A fairly new internet based medical payment program permits medical providers to secure a credit card before medical help is provided.
Claiming that it is a way of ensuring medical providers get paid while also keeping administrative costs down, the company has been around since 2008. It operates like this: when they arrive at their doctors office, patients are told by their medical care provider what the maximum amount a particular procedure will be likely to cost. The patient uses their credit card, gets the procedure done, and walks out of the office with a receipt and a detailed slip of services provided.
At this point the provider will bill the patient’s insurance company. It will tell the provider how much of the work is covered; the balance left over is charged on the card. If a deductible hasn’t been met, then the entire price of the procedure is charged.
With the increasing health care costs, more pressure has is being put on patients to pay their bills in the form of higher deductibles, out of pocket expenses and unpaid bills. With this stress that is increasing, unpaid and delinquent bills have become big issues for medical doctors.
Health care payments are now up to over three hundred billion dollars a year, and that number is supposed to balloon up to double that number by 2015. From this number, fifty to sixty billion dollars of current health care debts go into delinquency. The program has proven to reduce delinquent accounts by up to eighty percent.
However some researchers are skeptical. The problem of patients who do not pay off their balance each month has not been resolved yet, much less the issue of a patient not having a credit card.