The healthcare reforms of the government are not just affecting doctors and practitioners but are also badly impacting patients. The reforms are not just limited to the payment initiative such as pay for performance systems, but these reforms have even introduced the trend of health-related insurance plans. With the increase in health insurance plans, one can observe an increasing trend in high deductible health plans. This means that patients today are more responsible for their health care expenses. Although this trend has benefited society, as patients today are more concerned about their healthcare and are actively participating in improving their lifestyles. However, with the increase in the expenses of healthcare and the burden on individuals, healthcare providers are more concerned in developing an effective system to ensure that their patients are clearing their balances.
With the rise in insurance plans, patients have observed higher medical bills than usual which are later left unpaid. This has led to a need for improvised patient bill collection systems in the healthcare provider industry.
The following five ways can vastly improve a practice’s collections of medical bills for any healthcare service provider.
Train your Customer Relationship Officer or your Front-Desk Manager regarding the Boarding of the Patients
The customer relationship officer is the person that the patients will be talking to in respect to any appointment boarding or payment issues. Therefore, you must train them to collect all dues from patients and they should always verify insurance coverage. The main duty of the customer relationship officer is to inform patients of their respective dues and tell them about all of their payment options. This will keep things clear between you and your patients before they come for their next appointment. Another successful idea is to create a script for your hospital staff so that they know how to deal with customers in case of over due bills. This training will help your staff learn the ways to deal with such patients courteously and respectfully.
Keep your Payment Policies Transparent
Healthcare providers often unintentionally blindside their patients regarding their medical invoices and, often, costs are not included in the patient’s budget. This is one of the reasons it becomes so difficult for a healthcare provider to collect medical payments from patients as they do not have enough planned savings. It is crucial for hospitals and healthcare service providers to keep patients informed about the total cost of all procedures so that they can decide if they can afford it or not. This transparency is not just limited to the cost of medical procedures, but it should also include payment policies. A healthcare service provider can put signs in their waiting rooms that should state their payment policies. It is essential that medical practitioners remain clear regarding what they are expecting from their patients concerning payments. To eradicate confusion, every staff member and customer relationship officer of the hospital should know all policies so that they can deliver clear, transparent information to their patients.
Verify Insurance Coverage in Advance
It is crucial that healthcare providers verify insurance coverage of their patients before starting their medical procedures. Insurance coverage would include the kind of medical services included in their package and what the financial liability of the patient is. By getting proper information regarding insurance coverage, healthcare providers will be able to avoid less debt from their patients.
Get an Estimate of the Total Medical Cost for the Patients
Once you are aware of the insurance coverage of your patient and its complete details, you should estimate the total cost of all services that a patient is looking to have performed to analyze whether their plan would cover all of these services or if the patient will be required to pay an extra bill. Although the cost estimation process is long, it has many benefits, such as:
- Increasing satisfaction of patients
- Minimizing the days of receivables
- Improving payment collections
- Improving the payment process for patients
To collect payments from patients effectively, healthcare providers should improve their payment processes by introducing maximum payment options. Including cash alternatives, such as credit cards and online payment options, will not stall the payment process. It has been observed that online payment methods attract more patients to healthcare service providers as patients, at times, are out of cash and prefer using credit cards for paying their bills.
Incorporate a Proper Billing Software
Manually bookkeeping all payments and bills is a challenging process. The more challenging task is managing the debt or account receivables, therefore it is advised that one should have a billing software for their medical services as this provides a platform with all of the comprehensive solutions. This software will not only record and generate bills but will also keep a record of all of your paid and unpaid bills, late fee charges, and the customers who still have yet to pay their dues. You can easily get their personal information and politely remind them regarding their outstanding dues using such billing software.
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