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Can Retail Layaway Plans Work for Healthcare?

We’ve all seen the ads. Options for layaway at major department stores urging you to purchase appliances, electronics and holiday gifts. You get to set aside a big purchase, make regular installment payments, and when those payments are done, you get to take the item home. Now, what if instead of a new washing machine or a giant TV, your patients got to take home their health?

One major factor deterring patients from seeking medical attention is the cost. Private pay costs are increasing and patients are feeling the hit. Approximately 70% of emergency physicians report seeing patients who put off care due to the expense. There has to be a win-win for patients and providers to get the preventative care patients need. This is where healthcare providers can take a cue from retailers.

This holiday season alone, about 17% of shoppers say they plan on using layaway for their larger purchases, and one in ten 18-24 year olds say layaway options are important in their purchasing decisions. Healthcare providers could benefit greatly from introducing a layaway-like payment method for their patient payments.

The use of recurring payments in healthcare means ease of payment for patients and security in getting paid for providers. By setting up scheduled payments, providers avoid the anxiety of not receiving a payment. A large statement sent to a patient could be daunting and can often lead to avoidance by the patient. Setting up recurring payments also helps practices avoid using collection agencies for unpaid bills, which can cost the provider 25%-45% of the debt owed.

With a system like layaway for retailers, patients can also avoid putting large medical bills on their credit cards and racking up interest. Your practice would be able to keep patient payment information on file and debit the scheduled payments straight from the patient's account. This sounds like a win-win for both you and your patients.

There’s no need to wait! Your patients are ready for options and your practice is ready to get paid. By setting up a layaway-like system for recurring payments, your practice can guarantee payment, lessen your office staff workload, and keep your patients satisfied with options for large bills.

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