Best Practices When Sending Patients to Collections

patients collectionsAs Patient Payment Responsibility continues to increase, sending patients to collections efficiently & effectively is more critical to the financial health of your practice than ever before. Here are some helpful tips to optimize your patient collections process.

  1. Communicate your collection policy upfront
  2. Integrate your collections process with your billing
  3. Consider offering discounts for self-pay patients
  4. Accept multiple forms of payment 
  5. Offer multiple payment options
  6. Require patients to make “good faith” payments

Practices that employ the following practices can help prevent sending patients to collections or make the collections process much more efficient and effective.

1.Communicate your collection policy upfront

Prior to patient appointments, clearly communicate your collection policy. This helps the patient plan ahead to pay in full in the specified time period. This is especially important for patients that must meet a deductible or coinsurance amounts towards the out of pocket expenses. When patients are aware in advance, they are more likely to make some of their payment upfront. In addition to pre-visit communications, specify your collections with signs in your office, intake forms, information documents and on your website.

2. Integrate your collections process with your billing

The current process to send patients to collections is tedious, time-consuming and prone to error and miscommunications. That’s because staff must constantly and manually pull lists of patients eligible for collections and send all the necessary patient information to the agency. Plus, all the complex back and forth communications, followed by posting accounting for the payments.

Leveraging an automated patient billing system like BillFlash, you can create rules based on aging and minimums that queue up patients eligible for collections and send all the necessary information to begin the collections process. Practices can manage the entire collections process right in the patient billing system including setting rules, approving accounts for collections, and reports. To learn more, call NexTrust BillFlash at 435-940-9123 or visit collections.billflash.com

3. Consider offering discounts for self-pay patients

While insured patients receive discounts through their insurance provider, self-pay patients are responsible for their full payment. As an incentive to pay bills in a timely manner, offering self-pay patients a discount to pay in a timely fashion could reduce accounts sent to collections, improve the patient payment experience, and help improve your cash flow.

4. Accept Multiple Forms of Payment

Limitations in accepted payment methods and payment options can be a liability for your practice in getting paid quickly, and sometimes, getting paid at all. You can remove these barriers by incorporating payment systems that make it easy to accept all card types as well as payment plans. The BillFlash Billing and Payment system lets you offer these payment options to your patients simply. Patient billing and payments can then be synced with EZClaim because of the existing integration with BillFlash.

5. Offer Multiple Payment Options

Patients may find themselves in collections because out of pocket expenses are often much higher than they expected and can sometimes be thousands of dollars. Offering various payment methods and payment plans improves the patient experience and overall satisfaction.

Limitations in accepted payment methods and payment options can be a liability for your practice in getting paid quickly, and sometimes, getting paid at all. You can remove these barriers by incorporating payment systems that make it easy to accept all card types as well as payment plans. The BillFlash Billing and Payment system lets you offer these payment options to your patients simply. Patient billing and payments can then be streamlined because of the existing integration with BillFlash.

6. Require patients to make ‘good faith’ payments

If a patient is not paying their balance in full, requiring them to pay a portion of the payment is a helpful first step in keeping their commitment to fully meeting their financial responsibility. These small steps not only make the debt more manageable for patients but creates payment momentum for future payments so that at 90 or 120 days they owe much less and are less likely to be candidates for collections. 

With increasingly more patient payment responsibility, the risk for patients being sent collections can rise as well. So, helping your patients avoid collections and optimizing your collections process when collections become necessary, can bring big financial returns

Call NexTrust today 435-940-9123 or email at sales@billflash.com or go to collections.billflash.com to learn how collections are now integrated with automated patient billing and payments to improve the financial health of your practice.

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Why Do I Have A Balance? – Patient Payments

Patient PaymentsPatient Payments – Written by Stephanie Cremeans of EZClaim

Why do I have a balance? The golden question regarding patient payments every physician’s office staff member dreads beginning January 1st. Unfortunately, your patients are not usually savvy when it comes to the nuts and bolts of their contract, and they are frustrated. They thought their plan was good, but now they have a bill.

 

 

68% of patients failed to fully pay off medical bill balances in 2016, up from 53 percent in 2015, and 49 percent in 2014. This number is expected to climb to 95% by 2020

Source: Patients May be the New Payers, But Two in Three Do Not Pay Their Hospital Bills in Full, TransUnion Healthcare, June 26, 2017

So here we are, in 2020. Let’s make sure your office is equipped and able to collect patient payments for services rendered rather than becoming a part of this scary statistic.

Begin with the basics. Make sure that your staff understands these key terms and is comfortable explaining them to your patients.

Deductible – The deductible is the amount the patient has to pay for covered services before the insurance plan pays. Some insurance plans will apply an office visit to the deductible, others will not. Family plans typically have an individual and family deductible.

Copay & Coinsurance – These are both the portion the patient will be responsible for after their deductible has been met. Copays are a set, flat fee. Coinsurance is a set percentage that the patient will pay.

Max Out of Pocket – This is the limit of what a patient will pay for covered services within a plan year. Again, on family plans, there may be an individual max and family max.

Keep in mind your staff will not know the details of your patients’ plans, nor should they be expected to! In the ever-changing world of health insurance, our patients need to become better consumers. So just being able to explain these key terms and why they create a patient balance will help them become better insurance plan shoppers!

Use your tools. Look into using Integrated Eligibility (available through your billing software and your clearinghouse). This will allow your staff to check remaining deductible balances, copay and coinsurance amounts with the click of a button. These results allow practices to confidently collect at the time of service rather than spending time and money on sending statements and working collections after the visit.

Create a plan and stick to it. Use this time to review the efficiency of your patient collections plan. Are you using an outdated plan or policy? Have you considered offering payment plans to patients with an HSA card kept on file? Make sure that your employees understand how important patient collections are to the practice, educate them on the plan and support them when they hold patients accountable to the patient collections policy.

For more information on how EZClaim can help you with this journey, schedule time with our sales team. Ready to get started? Download your free 30-day demo today!

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CONTACT INFO

337 S. Main Street
Ste 200
Rochester, MI 48307

877.650.0904

FOLLOW US ON


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Ste 200
Rochester, MI 48307

877.650.0904

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