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How to Deal with Self-pay Patient Collections

by | Aug 11, 2015 | Resources | 0 comments

Patient CollectionsWith the rise in the number of patients with high deductibles, it is crucial for physicians to collect out-of-pocket payments to prevent accounts receivable from going overdue. Having an effective self-pay patient collection policy is an important cog in the revenue cycle management process. Here are some tips to collect patient deductibles.

  • Improve Upfront Communication – Healthcare policies are often difficult to understand leaving patients confused about what they will have to pay. Patients must be provided with advance estimates of financial commitments based on their insurance coverage. They should also be informed about payment plans and discounts that they may be eligible for with early cash payments. Such upfront communications can benefit both the patient and the physician.
  • Give Every Opportunity for Payment – Provide convalescents with multiple choices and opportunities to pay such as check-in kiosks, online payments, payments via phone, and e-checks. More payment options improve patient satisfaction. Make them understand the consequences for not making payments. Have credit card readers that allow them to pay their bills on the spot.
  • Have a Clear-cut Financial Policy – Have a clear-cut financial policy and consider posting it on your practice website. Spell out the payment that is due at an office visit. It should include payment of deductibles, copays, co-insurance and previous balances, payment for surgery or such high charges, billing of the patient’s insurance, collection charges, and so on.
  • Offer Discounts – Offer a discount policy for those who pay in full at the time of service, or who clear their balance within the upcoming days to complete the payment in a timely manner.
  • Role of the front office desk – The front desk plays an important role in collection process. They must follow some necessary strategies while dealing with the process:
    • Verify Eligibility and Information – Verifications about the patient coverage, information details and co-pay amount can provide valuable information before the person checks in.
    • Pre-visit collection – When patients call in to schedule or re-schedule appointment, remind them gently about their responsibility to pay deductibles and prior balances. They should be informed about their past due amounts and payment expectations at the time of service.
    • Time–of-service collection – It is better to ask for payment at the office visit. This has always been the most important strategy for successful health organizations. This is the best opportunity to remind the patient about the past due balances, which can also be collected at that time.
    • Check-out collection – Try to collect remaining deductible balance at checkout. This can increases collections, and save time and labor.

Collecting deductibles, coinsurance payments and outstanding balances is a challenging work for healthcare providers. The best solution is to partner with a qualified medical billing company that can manage this process efficiently. Professional medical outsourcing companies are equipped with the technology necessary to automate processes and increase efficiencies, ensuring a smooth medical billing and follow-up processes to prevent revenue loss and enable faster reimbursement in medical practices.