Life would be easy if it rained pennies from heaven. But for those who manage a medical practice, the sun isn’t always shining when it comes to collecting medical fees. In fact, while patient co-pays are usually around 20% of a practice’s bottom line, up to 60% of patients don’t honor their fiscal responsibility in a timely manner, if at all. This too often causes a cash hardship for many practices. However, there are ways to lessen the delta between what is owed and what is collected. Here is more about ensuring that you are achieving your medical collections in a timely manner.
Rising Costs and Bottom Lines
Let’s face it. The rising costs of medical insurance in the last few years has dramatically affected many practice’s bottom lines. Deductibles seem to be getting higher, and often less procedures are covered. That means more out of the patient’s pocket and it can be hard to collect these funds. When contacting patients about upcoming appointments, remind them of any outstanding balances, and the need to pay that before their next appointment, or when they arrive at the office. Allow for payment plans that work with your patient’s budget and timeline. Patients will remain loyal and will welcome the opportunity to pay over time, vs. facing collections.
Verify the Bill
It happens. A code is wrong, a date of birth is incorrect, the medical insurance provider has changed. All of this can result in an incorrect bill (and sticker shock!). If the patient has questions about a bill, take the time to really take a look. Ask to see the explanation of benefits, cancelled checks, or any other documentation to help make the case. Sometimes, a few minutes of investigating can be the difference between an insurance company picking up the tab, vs. the patient not paying the bill at all.
No one wants to say no to a procedure or treatment that can help a loved one. However, there are things you can do to make sure you can collect on the tab. Be sure the insurance is correct. If your practice is out of network, say so; refer the client to a colleague who accepts the plan (your colleague will thank you and return the favor). Offer alternative treatments such as physical therapy or pain management before taking on surgery. And if you do recommend more complex treatments, be sure you have a pre-authorization on hand before you get underway.
Add Online Features
Consider streamlining your payment process by adding a bill-pay feature to your patient portal on your practice’s website. By removing antiquated payment methods, payment will become more a habit and less of an afterthought. Consider making records and intake procedures available online, too, as well as scheduling and chat features; this can save time and money in the office.
Limit Staff Frustration
Know at what point to turn to a collection agency to help recoup unpaid balances. Set a firm limit, either a dollar figure or at a realistic timeframe before engaging a collection agency. Make your policies known and remind patients who are slow in paying their balance that if they continue to at least make an effort to pay down their bill, they can avoid referral to a collection agency.
Rising Costs and Bottom Lines
Let’s face it. The rising costs of medical insurance in the last few years has dramatically affected their practice’s bottom line. Deductibles seem to be getting higher, and less procedures seem to be covered. That means more out of the patient’s pocket which can make it hard to collect funds.
That’s where the professionals at ProMD Practice Management come in. At ProMD, we have experience in every phase of medical billing, from intake to collections. Plus we are experts in compliance, staff training and coding. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on patient care. Call us today at (844) 236-5488 or, or contact us online and see how our experience can reduce your financial strain.