To keep a healthy cash flow and their doors open, physician practices need to ensure they collect payments from patients, according to Medical Economics.
The days are gone when insurance companies’ payments on claims represented 85 percent of a medical practice’s revenue, according to the article. Today, changing regulations and shrinking reimbursements from insurance companies, as well as high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), means practices must rely on getting paid by their patients in order to maintain their financial health.
“HDHPs have shifted financial responsibility to where it sits equally with the insurer and the patient. Half of a medical group’s revenue now has to be collected from patients and they naively believe their doctor can’t possibly be hurting financially,” writes Tom Furr, founder of PatientPay.
Here’s three ways practices can help boost patient collections:
Set the expectation of payment from the patient and if possible get payment at the time of a visit. Staff need to know what the patient’s health plan covers and what it allows in terms of reimbursement, so on the way out, they can collect the payment. If a patient is unable to pay, set up a payment plan.
Switch to electronic billing. While many companies have moved away from paper-based billing, the number of medical bills sent through the mail has increased. Most patients prefer to get and pay their bills electronically, according to the report, a delivery method one survey found was preferred by 7 out of 10 patients. And you will likely be paid quicker.
Make it easy for patients to pay. Patients are less likely to pay bills if they do not understand the charges. Make your statements easy to understand so patients know what they need to pay.
Keep in mind, however, that you won’t collect payment in full from every patient. A reasonable benchmark is collecting between 85 and 95 percent of patient payments, as FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.
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