Rising deductibles and rising healthcare costs are putting more financial responsibility on patients. Thus making it harder for providers to collect payments. Furthermore, it is taking longer and costing more to collect patient balances which is putting financial strain on the practice. The following are just four ways practices can increase patient payment rates and avoid forcing patients into collections.
- Make it easy to pay. Convenience is the key. Providing convenient ways for patient to pay their balances is paramount. This may include accepting credit cards, allowing for payment to be made online or thru a portal, or having a dedicated staff person taking inbound calls from patients that can answers questions and settle outstanding balances. If patients can find an excuse why not to pay a bill they will so make it easy on them and watch your collection rate rise.
- Communicate out of pocket cost prior to services rendered. Communicating the amount covered by insurance and the amount the patient owes creates transparency and builds trust. Using tools like eligibility verification and patient cost estimators help reduce any confusion on the part of the patient for the portion in which they will be responsible. Creating a pre-bill before services are rendered helps patients plan ahead for out of pocket expenses.
- Avoid past due payments with proactive reminders. More than a third of patients forget to pay their bill on time. By simply providing a nudge or a friendly reminder many times patients will make a payment very soon thereafter. Making automated reminder calls with a pleasant reminder can make a drastic impact on reducing patient AR and avoiding late payments altogether.
- Don’t be afraid to confront a patient about a past due balance. You are running a business and like all business you need to be paid for your services. The goodwill of the practice will not be threatened by you enforcing a policy, in fact quite the opposite can occur. You will garner the respect of your patients while contributing to the overall health of your medical practice.
Every organization wants to maximize revenue and deliver the best possible healthcare service. The problem is many healthcare organizations fail to realize these two goals are connected. If improving your patient payment collections isn’t a top priority in your financial plan, you might want to rethink your strategy. Contact us to learn more.