For several years now health care plan deductibles have been considerably higher and increasing. With help from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employers have offered high deductible plans to reduce their cost of having to provide new employee insurance coverage. Consumers (aka patients) have bought into these plans to obtain coverage and lower their plan monthly premium.

We can’t deny that these high deductible plans have added to the intricacies of patient account management in the practice, we live this “new” reality every day. It is imperative that your billing staff is able to provide patients with transparent information regarding their benefits and out of pocket cost for your services. This not only gives your patients clarity regarding what they will approximately owe, it will also reduce past due payments and account delinquency. Hence, preventing lost revenue and unsatisfied patients.

Here are some recommendations for improving patient payment collections while conserving a healthy practice-patient financial relationship.

  1. First and foremost have a policy for collecting co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for ALL office visits up front. Especially for new patient consults. This policy should be as simple as
    {Your co-pay, deductible and/or coinsurance is due at the time of service.} There really should be no exceptions for office visits.
  2. In this specialty there should be another financial policy for collecting prepayments for surgery. You can implement this however you’d like as long as the total amount is collected before the patient has surgery. For example, you may collect a percentage at the time of scheduling, and final payment at their pre-op appointment. A pre-surgical estimate is composed of the unmet deductible and coinsurance. Make a list of your most common procedures with contracted rates and use that as a guide to seamlessly collect your surgical prepayments.
  3. Offer payment method options. We cannot stress this enough. Consumers need options. You can offer automated payments by keeping a credit card on file, patient financing by using CareCredit and accepting credit cards. The younger-generation loves the option to be able to pay their bill online. Contact your practice management software to see if it is a feature they offer. These are becoming standard collection norms by many practices.
  4. Lastly, please review the patient’s account and benefits beforehand. There is nothing worse for a patient than dealing with someone who has no idea on what they are collecting from them and why. Financial transparency goes a long way for people to reach into their pockets and pay up!

Having seasoned and trained staff is extremely important when it comes to collecting money since often times this does not come naturally. If you would like an established specialized medical billing professional to help your practice reach your patient collections goals, we would love to speak with you. Give us a call 803-807-2844 or email us