The expenses that patients are paying out of their own pockets for healthcare have grown. Most families shell out around $3,600 per year, above their insurance costs, and many wind up neglecting their medical bills because they do not have the funds available to pay for the services your medical practice provided.
For people who don’t keep track on how much they spend on certain items over a year’s time, the average American will spend less on fuel for their automobiles than they will for their out-of-pocket expenses related to healthcare. This amounted to more than $300 billion in 2013. It is likely your medical practice isn’t getting your share for services rendered.
About half of all accounts currently in collections are related to medical bills. Most bankruptcies find their catalyst in medical expenses. Your medical practice needs to be protected by partnering with collection specialists that can help you avoid having clients fall delinquent on their payments and recover from those who have long forgotten about their bills from your office.
As we’ve established, it’s not uncommon for a patient’s unpaid medical bills to find their way to collections, however, not every medical practice follows the same guidelines regarding when accounts are sent to collections. It varies per practice. To help regulate when an account will go to collections, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the ACA are looking to step in.
The two organizations got together in 2013 to try and establish a best practice scenario. One of the goals was to reduce the number of shocked patients who got a call from a collection agency about an unpaid bill rather than from their healthcare provider. What they’ve come up with is a set of guidelines that can help to make the steps your medical practice can take to bring patients to collections more consistently.
Sloppy billing is a common mistake among healthcare providers. Sending out the invoice for services rendered immediately is considered a best practice that not all medical offices follow. Following up on the initial bill at regular intervals is also a problem for many practices that have more than their fair share of delinquent accounts. Some patients claim that they’ve been sent to collections before they’ve seen their first bill. The HFMA and ACA are establishing standards that will help patients who experience this issue.
Medial practices are required by law to share their billing and collection policies with anyone who asks. If your practice doesn’t have a set standard on how billing and collections are carried out, now is the time to consult with a collection specialist and/or accounts receivable agency to establish your best practices.
Omega-RMS, llc., puts their collection specialists to work even before an account has become delinquent. With more than four decades of experience, Omega, which is a member of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, offers accounts receivables management, early intercept recovery services and contingent collection services that bring value to every client your practice serves.