A Medical Office Manager’s Guide to Patient Collections
If past-due accounts are jamming up your medical practice’s revenue cycle, you’re not alone. More health care entities are experiencing higher than usual collections backlogs. Third-party payers are serving up compelling offers to consumers – cheaper out-of-pocket plans in exchange for higher deductibles and limited access. If you don’t get sick, it’s a win-win. The gamble is that when you need access to health care, these high deductible plans can knock the wind out of the average family’s budget.
Meanwhile, your physicians are trying to make payroll and cover their mortgage. Something’s got to give! If you’re ready for a financial health intervention, a good place to start is to examine your financial policies and patient communications. It may be time for some modifications. But before you make changes, it’s a good idea to look at your medical practice’s collections processes through the eyes of your patients.
Help Your Patients Cover Their Financial Responsibility
- Set Up Payment Plan. When faced with unplanned medical expenses, a family’s tightly controlled budget can go into a tailspin. Consider breaking up a lump sum into smaller payments. Meet them halfway to help them cover their financial responsibility. They’ll appreciate it and you may see an improved rate of return on collections.
- Improve Communication. Life is busy. How many times have you misplaced something important in your home? With all the junk mail intermingled with important mail, it’s easy to lose track of important documents or bills. A secure patient portal can be a helpful investment to improve communications with patient about billing policies, balances due, and cut down on postage expenses.
- Verify Patient’s Responsibility. While many practices routinely collect co-pays up front, providing your patients with an estimate of their out-of-pocket responsibility at time of service helps them budget in advance of services rendered, when possible.
- Financial Counseling. Once you verify carrier coverage, don’t assume that your patients already know their coverage policies. You’ll avoid a lot of confusion by taking the time to spell it out for them. Often, patients have no idea what their insurance will and will not cover. After going over their coverage, make it official by requiring patients to sign a form acknowledging that they received an explanation and estimate of their out-of-pocket responsibility.
- Give Them Options. Make as many payment methods as possible available to your patients - mail, online, credit. Then, prominently display the acceptable methods and the types of credit cards at the reception desk, on your website, and in your practice’s informational brochure. Not only will this create awareness it will also help to ensure quicker payments.
Learn More Tips for Patient Collection Success
We know that keeping your medical practice in the black is important to the financial health of the organization. If you are struggling with finding what works for your practice download the Ebook Resolve Patient Collections Issues with Training & Education to learn how training and education are the foundation for resolving patient collections issues. There’s no need to delay. Click the link below to get your free Ebook now. Then, start applying our foolproof methods and tips today!