According to a consumer credit report survey by CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), approximately 42.9 million people with credit records have outstanding medical bills. This is a clear indication that collecting money from patients is a serious challenge for most practices.
In an article published by the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) there are various challenges due to which practices fail to collect money from patients, ranging from high deductible plans, nature of patient expectations, uninsured patients and so on.
If you are a practice struggling to maintain revenue due to collection issues, then here are seven useful tips to consider:
- At times practices fail to confront patients over payment issues due to which collection becomes a challenge. So practices need to hire experienced staff who can discuss patient financial responsibilities in an accurate manner. Well-trained staff will have the know how of saying the right things to collect from patients on time.
- It is very important to have a robust financial policy for your practice. The policies need to address slacks in payment (typically at the time of service). This needs to be addressed at the time of appointment so that patients come to the practice well prepared.
- Even before the services are being rendered, it is important to calculate the amount the patients will owe. Your staff can get this amount by calculating contracted rate and checking the unmet deductible of the patients.
- Practices need to offer different payment options to patients. For instance, patients of almost all age groups opt for online payment options as they are convenient.
- Some practices offer self-service payment tools to patients. For instance, patients can get enrolled in e-Statements so that they get balance information directly into their inbox. They also get the option to make an online payment in few easy clicks.
- Statements being sent to the patients should be easy to understand. This is important because at times, patients get confused by their healthcare bills. As per surveys, merely 7% patients can define terms such as, deductibles, premium or co-insurance. So if the statements display balance information clearly with easy instructions to pay, chances of payment will increase.
- Establishing an automated payment plan also helps in boosting collections. However, your practice will have to send a statement again every month in the hope that the patient will comply with the plan.