43% of Insured Adults Struggle to Afford their Rising Deductibles
Is your billing office struggling to receive payments for bills due? If you are, it should come as no surprise that your practice is among the many who are rethinking collection strategies. Though it is easier to collect a payment at the point of service, it is not always possible. Sometimes, in order to receive payment, your front office staff may need to take a different approach. This means involving engagement tools, utilizing your system, communication, and more.
Here are some ways to help your practice keep patient payments coming through the door while focusing on what matters… your patients.
Implementing Online Solutions
As stated, it isn’t always possible for patients to pay at the beginning of an appointment. Sometimes, it isn’t possible for them to pay after an appointment either. When neither of these are an option, patients may be more apt to pay through an online solution at their home. Often, online bill payments for practices are available through a patient portal solution. In order for this to work, you may need to have a credit card processor company working in conjunction with your practice management and patient portal solution. Check with your vendor if you have questions about how this would work at your office.
It needs to be noted that just because you have an online solution does not mean that follow up will no longer be necessary. Your staff still needs to remind patients to pay their online bill. Also, be sure that staff ensures patients aren’t having problems with the available solution.
Proactive, NOT Reactive, Collection Strategies
A proactive patient collection strategy starts with informing your staff on how to engage with patients before an appointment begins. Staff should engage with patients about how the collection process at their practice works. This should happen even if a payment cannot be collected at the point of service. At this time, any questions that the patient has can be answered. This is the time for staff to be transparent about what the patient could expect to owe, what the payment collection timeline looks like, how they can pay, and more. The more aware a patient is of their financial responsibility the more likely your organization is to receive a payment.
Did you know that 36% of providers and practice staff never discuss patient financial responsibility? This means your practice could be leaving money on the table.
As stated earlier, rising deductibles are making it increasingly difficult for patients to afford the cost of medical care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of patients are concerned about the out-of-pocket increases that come from medical expenses. One way that your practice can help ease this concern is by implementing a payment plan for your patients. Payment plans can be structured as your practice needs to – perhaps payment plans are only available for a year long stretch, or only for patients who have a bill over a certain amount of money. No matter which way your organization decides to swing it, patients will find comfort knowing that they have flexibility in paying their bills and avoiding collections.
Patient financial responsibility is on the rise and one way to help our patients, and our practices, is to allow them to pay as they can in a structured manner. Payment plans allow us to do just that.
Are you ready to revisit the way your practice approaches patient payments? We have to take a different approach to payment collections to help our bottom line and be mindful of our patient financial responsibility. What strategies are you going to implement?