As a healthcare provider, you know that one of the keys to success is collecting patient financial responsibility in a timely and efficient manner.
Unfortunately, many medical and dental practices fail to effectively manage their collection process, resulting in delayed payments or not being paid at all.
With an estimated $125 billion owed by patients annually in the US alone, it’s essential that your practice develops approaches for improving collections.
Why Patient Out-of-Pocket Responsibility for Healthcare Bills is Increasing
Patient out-of-pocket responsibility for healthcare bills is on the rise due to factors such as the growing popularity of high-deductible health plans, rising healthcare costs, limited insurance coverage, evolving reimbursement models, complex billing and coding systems, and increased consumerism in healthcare.
Understanding these causes is crucial for healthcare practices to effectively address the challenges associated with collecting patient financial responsibility.
In this blog post, we’ll share helpful tips on how you can better collect patient payments so you can ensure the smooth functioning of your practice’s operations. Read on to discover what steps you can take!
1. Clear Communication: Transparent and proactive communication regarding financial responsibilities is essential. Clearly explain the costs associated with treatment plans, including copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, to patients during the initial consultation. Provide written estimates and breakdowns of charges whenever possible, so patients have a complete understanding of what to expect.
2. Verify Insurance Coverage: To avoid surprises and delays in payment, it is crucial to verify insurance coverage before providing services. This will help identify any potential coverage limitations or exclusions, enabling you to communicate this information to the patient upfront. Additionally, regularly update patient insurance information to ensure accurate billing.
3. Offer Multiple Payment Options: Give patients the flexibility to pay their bills in multiple ways. In addition to cash and checks, consider accepting credit cards, online payments, and automated payment plans. Offering convenient payment options can increase prompt payment and ease the burden on patients.
Our Reliance/NSF ClearingHouse partnership is a great, no cost “add-on” for handling recurring transactions. We can help you save on costs in handling declined recurring payments, providing a fast and free recovery process. With our expertise and services, practices can enhance their recurring transactions process and ensure prompt payments. Visit our website for more information and request a demo.
4. Utilize Technology: Leverage technology to streamline your billing and collections processes. Implement electronic health record (EHR) systems that integrate seamlessly with billing software, making it easier to generate accurate invoices and track outstanding balances. Automated reminders and notifications can also be sent to patients regarding outstanding payments, reducing the chances of overdue accounts.
5. Train Staff on Collections: Providing comprehensive training to your staff on effective collection techniques is crucial. Equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate delicate conversations about outstanding balances, ensuring they maintain professionalism and empathy. Training should include strategies for negotiating payment plans, handling patient inquiries, and addressing financial hardship situations.
6. Establish Clear Financial Policies: Clearly define your financial policies and ensure they are communicated to patients. This includes outlining payment terms, consequences of non-payment, and procedures for resolving billing disputes. Having well-defined policies in place helps set expectations and reduces confusion or misunderstandings.
7. Utilize Third-Party Services: Consider partnering with reputable third-party collection agencies or revenue cycle management companies to handle overdue accounts. These experts specialize in collections and can help recover outstanding balances while maintaining positive patient relationships. Ensure that the agency you choose aligns with your practice’s values and maintains compliance with relevant regulations.
8. Regularly Review and Analyze Data: Regularly review and analyze your financial data to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. Evaluate metrics such as average collection times, accounts receivable turnover, and percentage of outstanding balances. This analysis can provide valuable insights into bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your collections process, enabling you to make targeted improvements.
Final Thoughts: Improving patient financial responsibility is a priority for healthcare practices to maintain stability and positive patient relationships. By enhancing communication, verifying insurance, offering payment options, leveraging technology, training staff, establishing clear policies, using third-party services as needed, and analyzing data, providers can streamline collections and ensure a smooth financial experience for all.
At Reliance we can help you take control of patient financial responsibility, refine your collections process, maintain stability, and nurture positive relationships! Contact us at 717-740-2622 or email us to discuss ways we can collaborate and optimize your practice’s financial experience.
At Reliance® – Medical Billing Made Simple®