With healthcare costs on the rise and an increasing segment of uninsured consumers, the patient payment landscape is changing rapidly. How can medical offices evolve and optimize collections while keeping patient satisfaction high? Thankfully advancing technologies are making it easy to simplify collection processes to increase revenue.
1) Communicate responsibility
How many times have you purchased a good or service without knowing the cost beforehand? Probably not many. Healthcare should not be any different. By providing cost expectations, care providers can give patients the opportunity to not only understand their fiscal responsibility but to also take a proactive, involved approach. Communication allows patients to determine if the value of the service they are receiving is worth the cost. When finances and choices are transparent, patient satisfaction rises.
2) Collect upfront
It’s said that medical providers collect only 25 percent, on average, of available co-pays and deductibles at the time of service. If the patient departs after the initial visit without making a payment, the likelihood of receiving the co-pay drops significantly. Consumers are used to paying for a product at service at the time of use, so why should medical care be different? Capitalize on patients that are willing to pay at the time of service by collecting upfront. Processing payment during the appointment is a step toward helping the patient to be invested in their care, which increases the chance of gaining future payments.
3) Empower patients
We know that patients are taking a more active role in their care and like to be in control of costs. Knowledge is power, and giving patients the information and tools needed is critical to empowering patients to pay. An effective strategy engages the patient early to learn their payment and communication preferences, then proving the proper options.
4) Build awareness
When adding payment options or considering changes to your payment workflow, increasing awareness is key. Be sure to engage your staff and provide the most accurate information on your website and within advertising tools (such as posters in the waiting room). If time and budget allow, conduct a survey to gain patient feedback. A small sampling of users will give insight into the likelihood that patients will adopt new tools and practices. It’s critical to explain the value in an informative, yet simple to understand the way that will resonate with your audience.
Thinking your practice may not have the staff or means to optimize payment processes? Consider tools from TriZetto Provider Solutions that can enable patients to conveniently pay by utilizing a variety of methods, including easy-to-understand statements. Learn how our partnership can help you streamline your workflow, improve efficiencies, and get paid faster.
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
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 ]
Telemedicine was already growing in popularity prior to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. So, as the adoption rate increases, EZClaim clients may have questions about sending telemedicine charges and getting paid for Telehealth visits.
Telehealth challenges can range from issues with technology to getting paid. With Telehealth becoming the norm for many doctor-patient visits, it is important to have a thoughtful approach in place regarding collecting patient payments. To stay in business, you have to get paid for the work you are doing. So, establishing a process for Telehealth consultations is vital to your business, and it should be a top priority to build a successful program from beginning to end.
The answers to the following questions will help set the baseline for how to collect patient payments for
- What is my process for charging for copays?
- How and when do I collect outstanding balances?
For example, if you collect payment before an in-person visit, you should collect payment before a Telehealth visit, too. There is no need to re-create your process completely. Just change what is needed to match your current in-office routine.
Sending Charges Before a Telehealth Visit
A simple way to send pre-visit charges to patients is to provide them with a link that takes them directly to the payment site. EZClaim’s medical billing solution is integrated with BillFlash LinkPay, which enables customers to provide payment for the upcoming visit. So, before the Telehealth session begins, the practice simply sends a link to their patient via an e-mail or text, making the appointment confirmation and the payment processing part of the check-in process. After the payment transaction is complete, it will immediately show up on the practice’s BillFlash report. LinkPay is designed to be easy to use and doesn’t require patients to remember a login or a chart number.
Here’s how EZClaim enables the process through BillFlash:
- Prior to Telehealth visit, the patient is sent a link to pay through LinkPay, and another link to join the Telehealth call
- The patient pays the required amount through LinkPay, which is immediately confirmed and processed
- The patient joins the Telehealth session
- Results and follow-up are completed electronically
- Insurance billing is completed
- The patient receives a paper statement or eBill notification for any remaining balance
- The patient is directed to pay the remaining balance online at MyProviderLink.com
Automate What Can Be Automated
With so many changes taking place in healthcare, a great way to help protect the financial stability of your practice is to automate what can be automated. This saves your staff time and decreases your cost of doing business.
One way to do this is to set up automatic payment plans for patients, particularly for those who have been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. A payment plan is a good way of keeping the revenue flowing in, and it shows your patients that you are compassionate and willing to help them through these unprecedented times.
BillFlash also securely stores payment information, so patients will not need to re-enter their information every time they pay a new bill.
As you continue to adjust to Telehealth going forward, BillFlash can simplify patient billing and payments significantly and help getting paid for Telehealth visits.
So, for a LIMITED TIME (during May 2020), EZClaim customers can try BillFlash statement and eBill services for FREE for 30 days. Click on this link for more details about BillFlash or try it out for the next month.
For additional information, call BillFlash at 435-940-9123, or contact EZclaim’s support team at 877.650.0904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Contributed by James Easley VP, Marketing NexTrust Inc.]