Understanding Patient Responsibility and How to Collect: 5 Easy Tips

 

If there’s one certainty in today’s evolving healthcare environment, it’s that patient’s financial responsibility continues to grow. That’s why the patient billing & collection process is so critical to profitability. Practices need to be efficient on their end, while making it as easy, convenient and flexible as possible for patients to pay their balances.

Here are five tips to help you better understand deductibles and more effectively collect what’s owed.

  1. The payment pre-visit. This is a real-time opportunity to prep patients about payment expectations, open balances and possibly collect from them in advance. For maximum efficiency, review the balance with the patient and invite them to make a payment while on the phone.
  2. The eligibility question. It pays to determine insurance benefits prior to a visit so you can confirm and collect what’s owed—whether it’s co-pays, deductibles or open balances. Be sure to clearly communicate out-of-pocket expenses and what’s covered by insurance, so there are no surprises for the patient. Keep in mind: If you’re not checking insurance verification and eligibility, you’re leaving money on the table—it improves cash flow.
  3. The advantages of Patient Cost Estimation (PCE). This handy interactive tool estimates the cost of scheduled services, promoting transparency in pricing and reducing confusion over patient responsibility. Providing accurate, timely estimates also facilitates a better patient experience and allows you to collect payment in advance for planned procedures. After all, wouldn’t patients like to know their financial responsibility up front, rather than weeks later?
  4. Not all merchant services are created equal. You’ll want to take advantage of the best technology and outsourcing options, especially one that integrates with your practice management application.  A robust merchant service will aid in utilizing credit-card-on-file programs, payment plans, pay-now features, online payment portals, and virtual terminals for front- and back-office collection.
  5. Reducing uncollected balances. You can do so with recurring payments—pre-approved at a regular frequency. Payment plans should not exceed 6 months if possible.

Click HERE to learn more about making prompt payment easier for patients and the collection process more efficient for your practice.