With around half of consumers in the U.S. now enrolled in online bill payment, it’s obviously something people are not only comfortable doing, but have come to expect. However, regardless of how many payment methods you offer your clients, there will undoubtedly be a percentage that pay late or may not pay at all. What can you do to protect your business? Collection strategies are important.
There are several advantages to offering an online payment method to your patients. How important is it? An American Medical Association study revealed that half of the people who responded to its survey said that if their doctor refused to offer an online payment method, they would consider switching to another practice that did, it’s that important.
Yet effective collection strategies involve more than just offering an online service for paying medical bills. A high-functioning practice will have a front office that is well educated in the various tactics needed to help patients realize their financial responsibilities. It starts with making sure the patients’ insurance benefits are verified. Then, the patient must be informed what their co-pay will be and when it should be paid. Some offices will require the co-pay on the same day as the visit.
Not all patients have health insurance, which means your office will have to come to an agreement about exactly how much will be required of the patient per visit. Obviously, the best time to collect is when the patient is physically in the office, and most practices, as part of their collection strategies, make a point of pushing hard for a payment that day. The key to keeping the patient happy and the practice flush with cash is to make certain the patient is educated and isn’t presented with any surprises.
One of the biggest complaints doctors have is the number of third parties that are involved with their business. The insurance companies are the biggest problem, mostly because of the time it takes them to let the patient know what they’ll cover and what will be expected of the patient to pay out of pocket. This can be confusing for the patient, and they might not know exactly what is expected of them. Your front office staff needs to run through the terminology and make sure they know what deductible, co-insurance, co-pay and explanation of benefits actually means.
One of the fastest ways to lose track of a patient is to get lazy on updating the patients’ contact information. It is tedious, but it has to be done with every visit and should definitely be part of your collection strategies. When a patient moves, collection strategies can go out the window because future bills will go unseen, and if the patient changes their number, your attempts to collect via phone will also be fruitless.
Partnering with a debt collection specialist is something that intimidates many healthcare specialists, but it shouldn’t. Reputable collection specialists use collection strategies that keep the client’s best interests at heart. Omega RMS, llc., is a company that prides itself on customer service and collection strategies that work well with all parties involved. Call us today to find out how we can help you.