Why are more physician offices moving to “credit card on file”? When patients come to see their physician, the physician is rendering services based on his or her knowledge and experience to address the patient’s health care needs. These services are rendered in good faith that the physician will be paid. Thus, physicians who participate with insurance companies are extending credit to their patients for up to 30 or more days and accepting a discount of 1/3 to 1/2 of the charges by the insurance company.
How does “Credit card on file” work? “Credit card on file” allows the physician to be paid more promptly with little effort on the patient’s part. At the time of service, the staff will simply select your card(s) on file and charge your copayment – no need to dig through your wallet. When you are at work and call our office to provide a credit card, you may be in hearing distance of other people and that may make you uncomfortable – with a card on file there is no need to provide a credit card number verbally. For larger amounts, such as when a deductible is applied, it allows the office to arrange with you standard payment plans is so desired. Some patients want to use different cards depending on the amount, you can have more than one card on file – when you are notified of a bill due, you can determine which card to use or split the charge between different cards.
Where is your card stored? It is stored in your account. Only the last 4 digits are visible to anyone placing a charge, and it can only be posted to amount you owe and charged to your account – not your spouse’s account or anyone else’s – only your account can be credited.
We understand the difference between healthcare bills and, for example your cable service or cell phone service bill: Your cable or cell phone services are a preset amount from month to month. The amount of your healthcare bill will be different each for each visit, unless your policy is a fixed copay.
The current healthcare market has resulted in insurance policies increasingly transferring costs to you, the insured. Some insurance plans require deductibles and percentages in addition to copayments in amounts not known to you or the physician’s office at the time of your visit. This trend is only expected to continue and expand.