When one receives news that they have been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition like cancer, they get worried. Not only are their lives at risk, but there is also the cost of treatment that can turn one bankrupt. On the other hand, practices have to deal with the issue of discussing finances with their patients, which can be time-consuming and uncomfortable. Hospitals are providing financial counselors to assist patients in helping ease these problems. Discussed below are ways financial counselors help patients to solve costly care crises.
Inform Patients They Can Get Help
One of the key services that financial counselors offer is creating awareness. Not everyone is aware of patients’ financial counselors. Some patients have only heard of it, but they do not understand how they can benefit. It is the duty of a financial counselor to inform them of the help they can get. In addition to that, some may feel uncomfortable requesting help on their own. A financial counselor can help them get the assistance they need.
Determine Health Care Eligibility
Financial counselors help one determine if they are eligible for health coverage. For instance, for one to participate in Medicaid, they have to be from low-income families, children, pregnant women, and senior citizens. Therefore, a financial counselor will assess your situation and inform you if you are eligible. If you qualify, they also assist you in making an application. This makes it easy for healthcare providers as they do not have to turn away patients.
Educate Patients on Their Insurance Benefits
As much as people get health insurance, not all of them understand their benefits. That is where financial counselors come in. They offer help in the following ways:
- Inform patients about their benefits
- Educate them on the annual deductible that has been paid
- Explain to them the difference between copayment and coinsurance
- Inform them if there is any benefit cap
- Explain the total cost of the treatment they are about to undergo
- Inform them of their out-of-pocket expenses
- And tell them of the payment policy of the specific practice they are seeking treatment at.
Communicate With Insurance Companies and Payment
When one is sick in the hospital, they are concerned about how they will get better. However, one also has to make calls to the insurance company to ensure they are covered. This is where a patient financial counselor comes in. They act as a middle person between you and the insurance company. They will ensure that the amount to be paid by the company is settled and inform you if there is an out-of-pocket amount you need to pay.
Assess the Financial Needs of a Patient
A patient’s financial needs are not constant. Therefore, even as a financial counselor assesses the patient’s financial needs at the beginning of their treatment, they also have to do it regularly. That means scheduling meetings with patients and their family from time to time. For instance, there can be a change in the patient’s job status, insurance coverage, and other daily activities. With those changes, the patient’s payment plan has also been affected. Therefore, the counselor can help the patient come up with a better payment plan that suits the change.
Additionally, some patients assume that their treatment is based on their financial capability. This makes some patients reluctant to open up about their financial status. A financial counselor must establish trust with patients by communicating compassionately about payment policies and treatment plans.
Negotiate and Arrange Payment Plans
After a counselor has assessed the financial needs, they can help negotiate better deals for patients who are underinsured or in need. For instance, a counselor can work with a pharmaceutical firm with a patient assistance program that helps eligible individuals. They also work alongside pharmacy insurance programs, ensuring any prescribed medication is covered by one’s financial resources.
Having a financial counselor in your practice improves your patient’s experience in the hospital. You will enjoy increased revenue, and you do not need to have an uncomfortable discussion with patients about billing. If you are looking for financial counselor services for your practice, you can contact us at The Midland Group. We will help ensure you and your patients benefit from our services.