Patients often don’t understand how to use their flex-spending plans. Train your staff to show them how to spend their flex dollars on your services and optical goods—year ‘round.
In our community we see flex spending dollars really becoming part of the patient‘s thought process. This isn’t just in December like it used to be four to five years ago when people would wait until the end of the year. Now that flex spending and health savings accounts have become more mainstream, we hear and see patients all the time discussing how those accounts come into play when they are making a purchasing decision.
There is a great opportunity to educate patients about FSA accounts. Many are unfamiliar with what those dollars can be used towards. As part of the check-in process you can pre-authorize insurance benefits. As part of that process you should ask the patient if they also have an FSA or health savings account. You then can take that information to educate the patient on what they can use those dollars on. Gaining that information on the front end of the patient’s visit can really improve the patient’s experience. A lot of patients look at FSA accounts as “free money,” so you can try to educate them on the front end of their visit on what they can use that account towards. When this is done you can almost see the patient change from “what will I have to spend” to “what do I get to buy!”
Doctor Discusses Flex-Spending
The doctor can play a huge role in the use of an FSA account–whether that’s writing down the over-the-counter drop for the patient, or writing multiple eyeglasses prescriptions for the patient. We need to remember as doctors to tell patients that multiple written eyeglasses prescriptions are specific prescriptions being written for the patient to benefit them for all of their different lifestyle activities. If the FSA information is gathered at the check-in process, and the doctor has that information in the exam room, it can go a long way toward not only relieving the patient’s concern about costs, but can be a way to ensure patients have the tools they need to purchase products offering great, comfortable vision.
Train Opticians to Discuss Flex-Spending
Train your opticians to discuss with patients that products such as plano sunglasses, a backup pair of eyeglasses, or a second pair of eyeglasses are all materials that can be used toward FSA accounts. It’s still somewhat surprising that patients are shocked when you will tell them that they can get two pairs of eyeglasses using their FSA account. A good portion of your patients think those accounts can only go toward one purchase, like their vision insurance. But when you take the time to explain the details of how FSA or HSA work, you can see an improvement in your bottom line.
Create FSA Marketing Campaigns
You can use Demandforce (at roughly $200-$300 a month) to create e-mail marketing campaigns periodically throughout the year to remind patients of how their FSA accounts can be used. You also can put reminders in your electronic newsletter with this same information. The costs aren’t outrageous because you can use these same online communications for reminders and scheduling, as well. As long as you’re reminding them of their next appointment, why not also let them know they can use their FSA dollars during that upcoming visit?