More Health Care Providers Asking Patients To Pay in Advance for Medical Procedures
An increasing number of health care providers are asking patients to pay their portion of the cost of care before receiving treatment or before leaving the office, the St. Petersburg Times reports. Physicians are "putting a priority on patient collection" as employers continue to shift health care costs to workers through increased premiums or copayments, according to the Times. Doctors say the practice is appealing because trying to collect payment from patients after they leave the office is more difficult, more costly and less likely to succeed than billing upfront. However, some are concerned that the billing practice could affect patients' relationships with physicians or lead people to delay needed care.
BayCare Health System Vice President of Patient Financial Services Jim Schwamb said that patients benefit from knowing in advance what they will be charged. He added that many providers still will perform a procedure if a patient does not pay upfront and that many providers offer payment options, including noninterest payment plans (Martin, St. Petersburg Times, 4/10).