Hospitals Team Up with Banks to Offer Interest-Free Loans

Patient deductibles have continued to rise and many are left unable to pay for their services in one lump sum. According to reports, hospital billing officials have decided to create a new payment option that will help patients pay for the services they need and hospitals collect balances current and overdue: interest-free loans with no credit check.

Earlier this year, SSM Health Care signed a contract with Commerce Bank to offer these loans with three- and five-year terms for patients within the healthcare system’s regional footprint in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Since its launch in March, approximately $6.5 million has been lent to 4,000 patients. Roughly 154,700 patients were admitted to SSM Health Care’s 19 hospitals during 2013, reports the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

What keeps the loans moving is the popular choice to remove interest and keep patient’s credit, bank records, and assets out of the loan equation. This new loan program will only grow with popularity according to Paul Sahney vice president of revenue management for SSM Health Care.

Sahney says in the article, “Out of pocket costs, which is the deductible [and] co-pay, will continue to rise very significantly over the next five years.” According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, after a review of employer health benefits during 2013, the average annual deductible is $1,135, reports the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. New software will be implemented at SSM’s hospitals that will streamline the process for the patient and make collections easier for hospital billing specialists.