Most optometry billing services seem to be riddled with more debt and heavy obligations from both insurance companies as well as patients. In several cases, accounts receivable (AR) spirals uncontrollably, which is a burden that most practices can ill-afford. When cash flow is affected badly you need to adopt stringent measures to bring AR under effective control.
How much can you afford to allow remaining in AR?
Whether it is Optometry billing or any other related medical billing, it is important to keep an eye on your accounts receivable. Setting your own goal for AR makes perfect sense as there is no practice that does not have a few unpaid bills for services rendered. This happens in the case of billed insurance plans where outstanding amounts are invariably placed under accounts receivable. It can also happen in any office management system where a sale is posted automatically soon after an order is placed for an item.
Another instance in any optometry billing service, is when the outstanding amount comes under accounts receivable until the product, be it a pair of glasses or contact lenses is delivered. These two instances are what constitute an average total of all accounts receivable in any company. However, if the company were to bill 100% of all charges, with a 30-day limit for realizing payment either from the insurance company or the patient, this would constitute the entire month's gross revenue of the company. Hence, the golden rule should be that the accounts receivable should never exceed a month's gross revenue at any given point of time.
How to keep a check on AR?
It all depends on formulating a strict office policy regarding payments, and sticking to the policy religiously at all times. No matter how good the patients are, or how telling the need is to attract new business, no optometry billing service can afford to bend its own rules. Being gentle yet firm is where the trick lies, and insisting on full payment is justified during the visit unless the patient has his or her insurance approved well in advance. Even while the patient is inquiring over phone, the staff needs to be instructed to check on the insurance status of the patient, and convey the examination fees and payment terms upfront.
In case a product needs to be ordered, insisting on a 50% upfront payment is quite normal, which you should adopt as well, if not following already. The balance amount can be made upon delivery. Although such policies may appear to be extreme, they are not so, simply because patients like to be forewarned about what they are getting into. It is becoming increasing normal to never pay in cash at any physician's office these days. Optometrists are known to dispense retail products, and demanding payments is a right you can very well exercise. Patients also realize that they are expected to pay for services rendered or products sold, and are not wont to make payments.
Here are a few quick tips to remember: