Collecting patient financial responsibility (e.g. co-payment, co-insurance, deductible) at the time of service is something all medical practices should do. However, doing so isn’t always possible, whether it’s because the patient doesn’t have the money required for the co-payment or because your office was understaffed at the time. if this happens regularly, it can cause you a lot of long term collection and medical billing issues.
The following are four methods to help increase your front desk collections so that you can avoid having to bill patients for past due amounts:
Don’t provide the option to pay later Patients may opt to pay for their co-payment at a later date if you give them the option, so don’t. Require co-payments to be paid at the time of the patient’s appointment. Your staff will need to be properly trained on how to ask for payments as well as how to overcome any obstacles the patient may present. Make sure that your patients understand their financial responsibility by posting your payment policy online and in your office, and reminding them over the phone.
Document your collection procedures properly Make sure to make your front desk collections policies clear to your staff members and be sure to enforce them. Outline them in your new-hire training material and provide a checklist posted in your practice. This will make it less likely that your staff forget or neglect to collect co-payments right away.
Keep insurance records up-to-date It will become more difficult to keep track of which patients are responsible for what co-payments if your patient database doesn’t have up-to-date insurance records. Update your records consistently to better manage co-payment collections on a day-to-day basis. Train your staff to ask patients whether patient insurance information remains valid and to require patients to fill out new insurance forms every year.
Require insurance verification Require your staff to verify the insurance of your patients 24-48 hours prior to scheduled appointment. This gives enough time to identify patients that may have problems with insurance in order to contact & make other financial arrangements. Identifying whether insurance is active is not enough, your staff needs to identify patients out of pocket responsibility (co-pay; co-insurance; and deductible).
Implement this procedure and require your front desk staff to verify insurance at each visit. In addition to verifying patients’ insurance, your staff should also be trained to calculate & collect patient’s financial responsibility based on services provided at date of service.
You can improve your practice’s medical billing and collections process by following the above four recommendations.
If your practice is bogged down in paperwork and billing, ProMD will turn things around. ProMD Practice Management is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 888-622-7498 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.
ProMD Practice Management was founded in 2004 by a team of physicians and health services administration professionals who had directed the expansion of South Florida Perinatal Medicine into one of the foremost maternal fetal medical practices in the state.