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Planning Payments for Health Care

Sometimes, a patient’s health care coverage does not cover the procedures and other costs of health care, and this task becomes a part of the many medical assistant jobs.

In addition, it is possible that the patient will not be able to pay for his or her care completely at this time. However, this does not necessarily mean that the patient should be denied health care at your clinic or hospital. In fact, most hospitals and clinics allow patients to put together payment plans so that they will be able to take care of their expenses without having their health compromised.

The first thing to do is to speak with a patient about an estimate for their care at an early stage.. Whenever something more expensive than a standard visit occurs or will occur, you should speak to the patient about how much you expect the test or procedure to cost. Note that this need only be an estimate. You are not committing yourself to this price. However, you need to make this clear to the patient or it does become a binding contract.

Next, check the patients’ health care coverage. Many patients don’t really understand their health-care coverage and what it entitles them to. This is where your expertise comes in. Contact the insurance company to see whether or not the patient is covered for this procedure. If they are not, you will need to move onto the next step.

The next step is to see whether the patient can cover the cost immediately and out of pocket. If not (and this is common), you should work out some sort of payment plan. First, speak with the patient about what sort of down payment they can afford, and then work out a schedule of payments for the expenses. Note that, unlike, say, a car payment, the cost is not fixed and may change. This is all right, as the goal of this process is to work out what the patient can reasonably afford on a continuing basis.

by Lindsay Schloss

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