Medical Debt – What Physicians Need to Know

by | Published on Dec 3, 2014 | Healthcare News

Medical Debt
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Even with the establishment of the Affordable Care Act to help avoid mounting bills, consumers are getting drowned in huge medical debts. For physicians too, medical debt collection is more important than ever as the high deductibles and managed care plans are bringing more costs to patients. It has become important for practices to review their payment and medical billing and collection policy to ensure that they are conversant with the current cash flow demands.

According to a recent study, Americans pay much more on medical debt than on credit card debt and bank debt. It was found that the payment is approximately 3 times more with regard to medical debt. Nearly 63% of American adults indicated that the medical bills they received were much higher than what they expected. As many as 73% of the consumers said that if they had known the costs before they received medical care they would probably have made other, more informed health decisions.

The survey found that between 2010 and 2013, households lost as much as $2,300 in median income and together their healthcare expenses actually increased by more than $1800. One in five American adults or 51 million American adults are expected to receive a call from a third-party debt collection agency about medical debt this year.

Billing errors, unexpected additions and fluctuating procedure costs are just a few reasons for this rise of debts. One of the major problems was physicians’ lack of clear communication to patients about payment and debt collection policies. For that practices must improve their patient communication about the payment and debt collection by educating the patient. In addition to the debt collection process, clean, well-documented, error-free bills would result in physicians. Otherwise, these billing errors may be counted as medical fraud and abuse which would bring negative effects on the practice along with immoderate reimbursements.

Medical billing is a process that requires special attention, which may not be possible for a physician in a busy office setting. Partnering with a professional medical billing company can be beneficial in such situations. Expert billing and coding professionals would then provide end-to-end medical billing collection services including patient input, coding, electronic claim submission, payment posting, denial management and collections. They would provide an effective revenue cycle management solution to improve the practice’s financial health and allow practitioners to dedicate themselves to patient care.

Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal, the President of OSI, has a wealth of experience as a healthcare business consultant in the United States. He has a keen understanding of current medical billing and coding standards.

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