Medical providers and health-care agencies often assume their patients understand health insurance. However, that’s not always the case. After patients complete a medical treatment or service, they are often left with an expensive bill if they lack insurance coverage. You can help with these strategies for educating patients about insurance policies for practical tips.
Provide an Overview of Polices
The first thing you should do is provide an overview of insurance policies. This includes answering questions and explaining how insurance works. There are pamphlets and other reading materials that cover specific policies in detail. Within this step, you’re introducing the patient to insurance and setting a base of knowledge.
Go Over a List of Terms
It’s best to have patients understand their insurance plan and know everything expected of them. Go over a list of common insurance terms that every patient should know.
Here are some common terms:
- Provider: A health-care provider.
- Deductible: The price a patient pays to have access to health-care services. This is before the patient’s insurance starts covering costs.
- Copay: The amount of money a patient pays upfront before a health-care service.
- Formulary: A list of prescription drugs that a patient’s health insurance covers.
- Premium: Payments a patient makes to keep their insurance provider.
Talk About Costs
Patients who lack health insurance shy away from getting a policy because of the high costs. Cost concerns are prevalent in many low-income households or those who are ineligible for federally funded insurance programs. While speaking to patients, be transparent about different payments and fees. This will allow them to have a rundown of expected costs.
Patients who are new to insurance may not know where to start. Offer beneficial resources to help patients get in contact with insurance providers. You can also reiterate the common insurance types and offer suggestions. In other cases, if you have a patient who can’t afford insurance, talk about their options, including how medical providers can help uninsured patients. Ultimately, it’s best to offer as much help as you can.
There are tons of reasons why patients can lack insurance, whether it’s too expensive, they don’t qualify for federally funded programs, or they don’t understand how it works. So, take an extra step and provide your patients with information about health insurance. If you don’t know how to start the conversation, refer to our strategies for educating patients about insurance policies for helpful tips.