The 2 Most Common Objections About Selling Cash Services That Keep Doctors In Insurance Bondage
By Dr. Charles Webb
For practitioners who have grown accustomed to receiving their pay from a 3rd party, rather than the actual customer, going to cash can be scary. They allow all kinds of negative thoughts come to mind that discourages them from taking the leap of faith. Because they so uncomfortable with asking their customers (yes, patients are customers) to pay a fair fee for their services, they begin to find excuses to justify the impossibility of actually making this transition work. The following are the 2 most common perceived challenges we here from our prospective and new clients.
- Patients aren’t willing to pay up front – The typical perception by many practitioners is that their patients are not willing to pay out of pocket for services, especially up front. This is understandable if the only environment they are familiar with is the insurance, fee-for-service model. In this model the patient has been trained to believe that their insurance is supposed to pay for services…period. It’s not uncommon to get some moaning and complaining from many who distaste even covering the co-payment.
Let’s break this down. First, if you have led your patients to believe that they shouldn’t worry about the bill, you are going to need to effectively communicate a different message, one that leads them to understand that their personal investment is often necessary if they are to achieve breakthrough results. This message is quite different than one that suggests, “Here is what your insurance is willing to cover, so we’ll go with that”. If this has been the message being preached, why would you expect them to initially be OK with handing over their hard earned money for services they’ve never paid for before? Let’s be perfectly clear, it’s not that they don’t have the money and it’s not that they aren’t willing to invest into their health. It’s that they don’t want to pay for something they’re used to getting for free. And, they don’t want to pay for something they don’t see as valuable.
So how do you fix this so they do see the value in what you’re offering? Pay attention because this is where it gets interesting. If you haven’t been packaging your services for the objective outcome your client is seeking, you are likely placing your value on your services rather than on the results your patient will receive. This means you’re asking your patients to justify a personal expense on a service rather than investing into a long term goal.
As long as you only offer services covered by insurance you are setting yourself up as a commodity, influencing your patients to price shop. Packaging your services keeps the focus on all-inclusive program that includes everything that’s needed to reach their destiny. For example, your package will include an educational curriculum that is really mandatory, if you’re are truly attempting to empower your patients to take control of their health. This is not a service covered under insurance, so there is no conversation regarding insurance coverage. It’s a necessity for the outcome and part of the package.
In summary, your patients will be willing to invest into themselves when they recognize those particular services, treatments and supplements that are necessary for true resolution are typically not covered by insurance. And, they’ve have been educated on the difference between symptom based regimens versus long-term resolution. When properly explained, and an easy to understand solution is offered, most of your patients will choose the long-term investment.
An example I like to use of a universal willingness to pay for health services is the correction of crooked teeth. Can you imagine an orthodontist trying to offer a solution through insurance? Of course not…everyone knows that insurance doesn’t cover corrective or preventative care. Can you imagine an orthodontist not fully disclosing the time frame for care, what is expected of her patient and the total investment? What kind of integrity would this doctor have? But there are thousands of doctors proclaiming to be proactive wellness doctors, yet try to fit their patient’s care into an insurance model that isn’t designed for proactive care. Furthermore, they ignore the responsibility of doing what the orthodontist’s do correctly, and that’s laying it all out, up front so the prospective patient can make a decision. No transparency equals no integrity. You owe it to those who trust you to listen to them, understand what their ultimate goal is, evaluate their case and put together a complete program that will address all that is necessary to reach their goal. Anything less will eventually turn into a temporary fix and thus an expense. I promise you, those who trust you would much rather invest their hard earned money.
- I don’t want to be a salesperson. – Anytime there is a value-of-exchange, something has been sold. It fascinates me how so many doctors don’t believe they are selling anything when they are just playing doctor. This doctor consults with his or her prospective patient, evaluates them and then gives recommendations to include particular services…services that come with a price. If the prospect moves forward then there is an exchange of value, whether insurance or cash. When the services are covered by insurance, this doctor feels they did no selling, just recommendations as a professional. It’s quite a different story when insurance isn’t covering the tab. Why? If you, the practitioner, are giving your best advice to move past temporary symptom relief and into a complete program that can help your patient achieve optimal health, why would your conversation change whether there is insurance coverage or not? Why do you feel your recommendations are “selling” when the patient is required to cover your time and services? Same recommendations, right?
The truth is that these same practitioners who state, “I just don’t like to be salesy” are really saying, “I’m just uncomfortable asking for money”. I get it. You’ve been “mind-warped” to believe that thy doctor is to disregard the money and simply focus on thy patient. Who taught you this? The insurance companies and big pharma that’s who. It’s proven to be a quite effective system for filling the coffers of these big conglomerates.
If you believe in your value and what your services can offer in regards to changing people’s lives, you should not be embarrassed or uncomfortable expecting an exchange for your value. I’ve never met a doctor who had a problem accepting insurance money so it’s quite confusing on how the same services suddenly become worthless when the patient is asked to pay.
Start being congruent with your actions regarding your spoken beliefs. If you state you are an excellent practitioner and that you’re are worth more than what you are getting paid, start walking your talk. No excuses!