Help clients choose care over cost with outside payment options.
Even in these tough economic times, clients don't have to make a choice between money and medicine. When you educate them about payment options like pet insurance and third-party plans, they'll learn that they can afford the care their pets need. "When clients understand the reasoning behind a recommendation, and are aware of their payment options, they're most likely to follow the recommendation," says Lorraine Monheiser List, CPA, CVA, financial expert with Summit Veterinary Advisors in Littleton, Colo.
Lorraine Monheiser List
Each client must choose the plan that's right for him or her. So List suggests that rather than promoting one plan to all your clients, you provide brochures or Web site addresses to help them research their options. Of course, if your clinic has a preferred plan or provider, you'll need to focus on those. Either way, when clients know their charges in advance, it's easier for them to decide to get veterinary services that are actually needed. List emphasizes that it's also important to educate team members so they can help explain the payment choices to clients and don't provide conflicting information.
Get clients started by telling them about their general options. For pet insurance, reimbursement plans are common. Clients pay their fees up-front and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. The amount reimbursed depends on the client's specific plan. Third-party payment plans work another way. Clients or the practice submit their bill to the payment company, which usually pays the clinic. Then clients make incremental payments to the third-party company. Again, the payment amount depends on the client's plan.