We have seen increasing insurance premiums, and on the other side we have also seen increasing patient deductibles, coinsurances, and copayments. What does this mean for your practice?
Many practices are experiencing increased patient accounts receivables due to this. At this time in healthcare its extremely important to be vigilant about collecting as much money up front as possible for services provided.
Starting from the moment a patient calls for the appointment, you must ask about insurance, you must check insurance eligibility PRIOR to providing the service, and you must make the patient aware that they NEED to arrive with their copay or their appointment may have to be rescheduled. Staff needs to be trained and retrained to be vigilant about this. This WILL ultimately have a negative impact on your overall revenue if you don’t act proactively and put procedures in place now. Due to the constant increasing costs in healthcare as well as inefficiencies, the patient responsibility portion of claims can only increase and if your practice has not addressed this with firm procedures in place you will see increased patient accounts receivables and decreased revenues and practice profitability.
Here are a few tips that can impact this. Make it easy for the patient to pay you. Accept credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, and make sure your billing company can also accommodate these methods of payment. Offer a discount to self pay patients with a commitment from them to pay a good percentage at time of service and agreement to pay the balance within a specified timeframe. Have a policy in place, that lets the patient know they will receive a certain number of bills and that their account may be escalated to collection if they don’t make any effort to pay. And more importantly, act on that policy. Don’t let things slide, if you do, so will your profit levels.
Your valued patients do want to see you get paid, oftentimes they just don’t have the resources at that time and need to know that you will work with them. As a final note, when writing off patient balances due to hardship, be certain and get something in writing from the patient that states the reason they are unable to pay. Keep this record in their file. This will protect you with any contractural obligations you may have with insurance carriers.
We are here to hep you, so please give us a call if you have any questions about this or if you need help with your billing. Toll Free 1.877.666.5279