Psychologists tell us that ‘loss aversion” represents our psychological tendency to strongly avoid losses over gains.
For instance, research has shown that if someone gives you $10, you will experience a small boost in satisfaction. On the other hand, if you lose $10 you will experience a dramatically higher loss in satisfaction.
Yes, the responses are opposite, but the magnitude of response slants negatively toward loss aversion.
This tendency toward a scarcity mindset is subconscious, and can cause us to make bad long-term decisions in favor of protecting that which we already possess. And this tendency is also amplified when a person perceives themselves to be under economic threat or is in distress.
All of this has direct application to patient behavior relative to dental care treatment cost and the physical threat that the treatment process may represent in their mind.
This is also the exact way the insurance industry can manipulate policy holders into doing what they want, instead of doing what is in a patient’s best interest.
You see, if the insurance company can slow down a decision and divert a patient’s attention toward cost instead of health, loss aversion can naturally kick in. And when loss aversion kicks in, the patient elects LESS treatment. And when the patient elects for less treatment, the insurance company takes it to the bank…the CEO gets the bonus and eventually, the multimillion dollar mansion on the hill.
The patient has been psychologically gamed, and has made a bad decision that benefited the insurance company. We see this happen all the time through the policy vehicle called “pre-authorization.”
The insurance company knows that if they can instill doubt as well as perceived financial loss into the mind of the patient, they can do the victory dance in the end zone over and over.
So, how do you avoid the ‘loss aversion” heuristic from being methodically installed into your patient’s brains?
Co-discovery, that’s how.
Only through deeper understanding and a stronger motivation to resolve a progressive loss of health ( another strong loss aversion heuristic ), can you trump the insurance company’s psychological strategy.*
And better yet, stop doing pre-authorizations, as they only allow someone who knows nothing about your patient, and who has never examined them, to weigh in with an ill-informed opinion which may trigger a loss aversion response.
And if they do, chances are that they win and you and your patient will lose.
It’s your game, so why do you allow this to happen over and over again?
Einstein called such behavior “insanity”.
Paul A Henny, DDS
* Almost all large corporations today employ psychologists to measure, map, predict -and if possible- alter human behavior.
Thought Experiments LLC, @2017
Read more at www.codiscovery.com