14 Jun 8 Ways to Improve Patient Collections
You didn’t go to medical school to bill healthcare claims. Your skills are best used caring for patients, treating illnesses, and performing surgeries. However, your practice must have money to run smoothly. Improving patient collections is what MPMR does best! Here are 8 ways to improve patient collections.
No. 1: Collect Upfront
We work with your front office staff to collect as much upfront as possible. The out-of-pocket expenses for patients is no longer just a small portion of the bill. Many high deductible policies require patients to pay $3,000 to $5,000 before the physician gets paid. It is not uncommon for fully insured patients to owe a portion or all the total bill. Collections before procedures and surgeries will save your practice the expense of billing and collection calls afterwards.
No. 2: Be Polite but Firm
Discuss the bill with the patients, and tell him/her what must be paid before the surgery. The best policy is to be polite but firm. The billing department can educate patients on their contractual coverage, and explain the insurance policy, which is a contract between the insuring party and the insured party. Certain financial obligations are dictated in this contract.
No. 3: Obtain Physician Support
Before procedures or pre-surgery office visits, the physician should not advise the patient to “not worry about the bill until after the surgery.” This can cause misunderstandings on how fees are to be collected. To prevent this, discuss fee-up-front policies with the physicians in the practice.
No. 4: Determine Deductive Levels
The amount owed on the deductible varies, relating to services the patient has paid for and what is not been paid. The deductible amount may be determined by contacting insurer, as some patients will insist that they have paid more than the insurer has reported. Office staff can allow patients to bring in receipts showing payments have been made, but should contact the billing office to verify payment postings.
No. 5: Educate Patients concerning Co-Insurance Estimates
When medical billing specialists provide patients with an estimate of how much co-insurance they may owe, they should explain that the final amount can differ from the estimate. The co-insurance is the patient’s share of the total bill, and it is usually shown as a percentage. Educate patients before surgery, procedures, treatments, or services, so they will be no confusion when the final bill arrives.
No. 6: Set up a Payment Plan
When patients cannot pay the full amount of the deductive, or the co-pay, before treatment, services, or surgery, the billing professional can suggest a short-term payment plan. This is usually around 90 days, or three monthly payments. High-deductible policies have made it necessary to make these payment plan arrangements. Monthly payments are often made through checking accounts, debit cards, or credit cards, and the plan should include an initial down payment.
No. 7: Use a Healthcare Credit Company
Healthcare credit companies pay the provider the full amount (minus a fee) before the service or right afterwards. The patient pays back this loan through an established payment plan. Many patients on a fixed income level will need this service to have certain procedures and surgeries.
No. 8: Use a Promissory Note
As a last resort, the office staff can have the patient sign a promissory note, and pay the facility as they are able. If possible, collect a down payment before surgery. Most billing facilities do not charge interest, as they do not want the physician office to look like a commercial banking institute.