The most important thing a medical practice can do for their financial health is collecting payments from patients. So, because patients are not usually savvy when it comes to the nuts and bolts of their contract, they become frustrated when you send them a bill and, beginning on January 1st, your office staff get inundated with the question, “Why do I have a balance?”
“Approximately 68% of patients with bills of $500 or less did not pay off the full balance during 2016—up from 53% in 2015 and 49% in 2014.” 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, let’s make sure your office is equipped and able for collecting payments from patients for the services you rendered, rather than them becoming a part of this scary statistic.
Let’s 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.
Maximum 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.
Now, keep in mind that 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, 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 to collect after the visit.
In addition to that, 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. Or, if you ready to get started right now, then download your FREE 30-day demo today!
[ Written by Stephanie Cremeans of EZClaim ]
Which is the BEST kind of Medical Billing Software? “All-in-One” or “Specialized”?
When considering WHICH medical billing solution they should use, practices wonder which is best, an “all-in-one” solution or specialized software. Well, the following are a few important pros and cons to consider when making a choice between these solutions.
An “all-in-one” system tries to provide a single, comprehensive solution that offers functionality for the major areas of the practice—Practice Management (PM), Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR), and Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)—accessed from one central point. It has features like clinical notes, patient information and history, diagnosis and treatments, scheduling, appointment reminders, reports, patient educational resources, as well as a medical billing section.
• Most of what a practice needs is included in the system
• There is no need to be concerned with multiple integrations or vendors
• Tends to have a higher ‘entry’ cost
• Usually designed for the “middle-of-the-road,” therefore sometimes doesn’t properly address specific needs of a practice
• Sometimes, the practice is left paying for additional customizations to fit their particular needs
Specialized medical billing software, on the other hand, is particularly programmed to maintain billing details of tests, procedures, examinations, diagnoses, and treatments conducted on patients. However, many specialized software providers extend their scope to include features like practice management, scheduling, and other administrative and clinical functions (that are generally a part of EHR software systems) by partnering with other specialty software companies—creating a “best-in-class” solution.
• Integrating multiple “best-in-class” software packages—each taking a much more focused approach—creates an offering with much more in-depth capabilities
• Usually are more ‘nimble’ in responding to industry and regulatory changes
• More ’scalable’ in supporting the growth of a practice
• Most of the time the practice has to deal with multiple vendors
Where “all-in-one” solutions offer a wide breadth of capabilities across the business, they usually also lack focus, depth, and sophistication. “All-in-one” solutions are usually only efficient in one area, with the other areas tend to be ‘compromised’ and not fully developed. Then, when it comes to flexibility, they tend to be slow to adapt to changing practice needs.
Specialized software, however, typically offer a more efficient experience, with each ‘component’ streamlined and designed with a specific purpose in mind. Their focus on limiting the software scope makes them flexible and easy to use.
EZClaim—a leading software package in medical billing and practice management—has made it easier for the medical practice to have the benefit of a “all inclusive” solution. They have created the best of both worlds by taking on the responsibility of integrating the “best-of-breed” into a harmonized “best-of-class” offering that allows the practice to pick and choose for their specific needs. The seamless integration of partner products and services ensures the practice does not have to give up robustness and flexibility for a simplified “all-in-one” solution, and it further enhances the practice’s workflow.
As a specific example, one of EZClaim’s partners is TriZetto Provider Solutions (TPS), a provider that seamlessly blends claims processing with revenue management and analytics software, so the practice can get paid faster, and more accurately.
Today, the practice can get the benefit of all the power and ease of use of EZClaim’s medical billing software and all the access and security that is needed when dealing with personal records by using TPS—which includes patient access, claims and denials management, patient financials, and advisory services.
The powerful integration between EZClaim and TPS efficiently adds functionality to the practice. Now the practice can gain deeper insight into the claim lifecycle, and take the proper steps to improve the overall health of the practice. The right ‘integrated’ solution makes all the difference!
So, if your practice needs more confident billing, after payments, and more informed decisions, put the power of EZClaim and TPS to work for your practice with the integrated suite of revenue cycle solutions.
In addition to TPS, EZClaim has tightly integrated a variety of of ‘components’ to be able to offer an “all inclusive” best-in-class solution for a medical practice’s needs: Electronic Health Records (EHR), Clearinghouse, statement and payment services, HIPPA compliance, claims scrubbing, appointment reminders, and inventory management. It has partnered with a variety of providers like QuickEMR, BestNotes, and PracticeFusion [ Click here for an entire list of EZClaim’s partners ].
It is important to note that an “all-in-one” solution does not usually include the Clearinghouse portion that TPS offers. The powerful integration between EZClaim, TPS, and EZClaim’s EMR partners, efficiently adds functionality to ANY practice!
If you are considering the best course of action to meet your practice’s needs, consider using EZClaim by downloading a FREE TRIAL or contact one of their product specialists today to explore all the options for how to best solve your practice’s operational challenges, and grow your business.
For details and features about EZClaim’s medical billing software, visit their website.
Whether you are a person new to medical billing or someone who’s been in the business for years, launching a new medical billing practice can be hard. Understanding the market, connecting with new clients and knowing how to master your processes are challenges that you often learn as you go. Despite these challenges, it is rewarding to be out on your own growing a new company. Before you jump, let us help you understand some essential keys that you can research upfront and prepare yourself to get one step closer to being successful.
1. ONE BILLING PLATFORM VERSUS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS: First and foremost you must make a conscious decision to either focus on being an expert on an individual medical billing platform, like EZClaim, or tackling multiple platforms. There are pros and cons of both: being an expert can make you extremely efficient in your use of the software’s billing and, scheduling features, however, it can also limit your client base to only one set of software users. Whereas having a basic understanding of multiple platforms can allow you a larger base of medical offices while limiting your ability to truly understand how best to serve each individual client’s needs.
Pro tip: Start and master one trusted billing program, and grow your options as your billing business grows.
2. GET CLEAR ON THE CLEARINGHOUSE: A new billing company owner does not want to be held to just one clearinghouse as options are key here. Having the ability to work with any or many would be an essential piece to your billing services, however, you still want to know the best clearinghouses in the business. Understanding which clearinghouses provide the best products and services and being able to recommend those services to your client upfront will make your life easier and their business run smoother. For this very reason, EZClaim has built its software around partnerships and integrations with the best clearinghouses to make working with the one you need easy.
3. COMPLY OR DIE (HIPAA Compliance): The third key to any start-up is first understanding the importance of HIPAA Compliance. Medical billing firms literally can come crashing down with any missteps, mistakes, or misunderstandings of this essential piece of the puzzle. It goes without saying that if you are going to choose a billing software be sure that they have partnerships built around making sure you are protected. You are also responsible to make sure the data is protected so your customer and their patient’s data is safe.
HIPAA Hint: Check out Live Compliance for further details on the topic.
There are many options available out there for your new medical billing practice, and we recommend doing your research. Within that research, you will find that EZClaim ranks very high in performance and comes in at a great price.
To learn about EZClaim go to our about page, sign up for a demo and/or download a trial for free today!
AMBA 2019 National Conference Session Recap
Written by Stephanie Cremeans of EZClaim – AMBA 2019 National Conference Session Recap
I recently attended a breakout session of a seminar with a slide titled: “Clearinghouses are not Simply a ‘Pass-Through’ Portal.” With my role as a software support specialist, I immediately tensed up and thought about how inaccurate this statement is – I hear from clients that think that the software or the clearinghouse has changed their data, but that simply isn’t how it works. Well, kind of not how it works. You know that nothing in medical billing is as simple as it seems! Depending on how your practice management system works and depending on your understanding of how electronic claims are filed this may or may not be a valid statement. While I’ve always described a clearinghouse as simply a “pass-through” for your claims this seminar got me thinking about how much more a clearinghouse is! Let’s explore a little, starting from entering your claim into your PM system and clicking send.
The first piece of the puzzle is understanding what your PM system is (or isn’t) doing with the data. You’ve entered the claim data and you are ready to send your claims to the clearinghouse, but how is that data transferred? There are 2 typical formats – Print Image or ANSI 837. All claims being sent to payers must be in the ANSI 837 format, following specific guidelines for submissions. Although some clearinghouses are no longer accepting Print Image files, some do. In this instance, the PM system creates a snapshot of a claim form which requires the clearinghouse to move data into the correct fields for claim submission to the payer via the ANSI 837. Preferably, your PM system can create the ANSI 837 file for submission to the clearinghouse. The biggest advantage here is that you can typically view the file and the clearinghouse will not be changing anything before submission to your payer. If your PM system cannot create an ANSI 837 file I would consider upgrading or find a new solution.
So that’s it, right? If you have a system that creates a Print Image the clearinghouse is more than a pass-through and they “change” your data. If you send an ANSI 837 file, it simply passes your file along. Well … while this may be true, it’s really only part of the story, and you are potentially missing out on some pretty amazing resources that are at your fingertips! In addition to submitting the claims to your payers, they can scrub claims for common errors, confirm batch receipt and acceptance, provide claim level updates of accepted/rejected claims, and provide electronic remittance advice for auto-posting insurance payments. In addition, many offer additional services (for an additional fee) that can integrate with many practice management systems like integrated eligibility, determine deductibles and co-pays, patient cost estimators, claim status inquiry, patient statement processing, and printing services for your paper claims.
I’m working hard to remove the phrase “just a pass-through” from my definition of a clearinghouse. Once you have submitted an 837 file, they are still doing so much more than simply passing along the file.
EZClaim partners with TriZetto Provider Solutions but is designed in such a way that it will work with any clearinghouse a customer would like to use. The white-glove support team is even there to help set up the connection if needed.
We hope you enjoyed this AMBA 2019 National Conference Session Recap by EZClaim. Click here to view our blog page for more interesting and useful articles.