A high deductible plan or HDHP is a plan that has lower insurance premiums but high out-of-pocket expenses. Introduced in 2004, high deductible health care plans now cover almost 29% of the insured population in the United States. In 2017, the minimum deductible requirement for a single person is $1350 while the minimum out of pocket expenses are $6650.

Growth of HDHP

The scenario in the United States today is the growing trend of passing on the responsibility of medical expenses to the consumers. The proposed 2017 health care act is expected to further boost out-of-pocket expenses for health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

As per a 2016 survey of HDHP, 20.2 million people had enrolled in about 59 HDHPs. There was an increase in the number of people by one million as compared to 2015.

There was a 193% increase in direct payments from patients to healthcare providers between 2011 and 2014, according to a study. Despite this, the increasing out-of-pocket expenditure has resulted in patients delaying seeking health care interventions as far as possible. Besides, a cycle of bad debt is also generated when patients default on the dues after the deductibles are exhausted.

Ways in which medical practitioners can ensure they get paid

Many private physicians struggle with healthcare collections from patients who cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenses for health care. There are some ways in which medical practices can ensure they get paid in such scenarios.

Financial plan: Developing a financial policy that takes care of every eventuality is a must-have for medical practitioners. Patients who are on HDHP should sign such a contract so that they understand the payment procedures. Forms of payment, deductibles, and costs involved need to be covered in the contract. Once the procedure is decided, the exact amount the patient needs to pay should also be written down in the contract.

Reschedule procedure or appointment: When the patient is given the detailed picture of co-pay or deductibles, they can be given the option to choose when to undergo the procedure. With advanced information, patients are in a better position to make arrangements for the payment as required.

Payment options: A report by McKinsey revealed that 37% patients said they could not pay the expenses as there were no payment options. Offering multiple payment options including net banking, credit card, and PayPal would be helpful.

Giving an option to pay the healthcare billing in installments or to collect a flat fee as advance are some other strategies that medical practitioners can employ.