A solid financial policy can mean the difference between a well-run, successful medical office and one that struggles to keep its doors open. Your financial policy should make it clear what you expect from your patients and leave no room for misunderstanding on either part. The end result is that your office is able to collect necessary payments so that you can focus on your main priority i.e., patient care. For your reference, we shared eight modules that can be helpful in creating a strong financial policy for a sustainable practice.
Because missed appointments and cancellations represent an absence of revenues for medical offices, many choose to charge patients for no-show appointments. Some also state that patients who frequently miss appointments risk losing the chance to schedule new appointments at the office. Most practices allow to cancel the appointment 24 hours before and in case of non-communication, charge $20-$25 as no-show fees.
Credit card enables practices to simply charge the card once a patient's responsibility is assigned i.e., collection of co-payments. But you need to be careful as you are saving confidential patient data. If your practice intends to accept card payments as well as store, process, and transmit cardholder data, you need to host your data securely with a Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant hosting provider that ensures the data is encrypted, password-protected, and compliant with PCI Data Security Standards. If you are not aware of these security standards, take assistance from experts from the same industry. These standards cover the technical aspects of handling and managing cardholder data.
It’s quite common for any practice to mention that they will collect co-payments in full at the time of service. You clearly have to mention that in your financial policy. In case of non-coverage from insurance, the carrier patient has to pay the amount in full at the time of service. You can also mention payment plans in case the patient is facing financial challenges. Undertake eligibility and benefits verification for every patient visit which will help you to understand exact patient responsibility. With an insurance benefits report, your front desk staff will be well equipped with information and they can collect the maximum amount at the time of patient visit only.
You need to mention which payment modes you are accepting. Relying only on the cheque or cash payments may end in low patient collection. You can introduce online and mobile bill payment along with card payment options. Most of the billing software offers online payment integration so that you can raise an invoice for a patient with a payment link. Different types of payment options will ensure a better collection of patient payments especially as millennials and Gen-Xers are more comfortable with online payments.
In absence of benefits verification, for some visits, insurance may not be covering the services. So, you need to establish a rule for such a non-coverage situation. If a patient's insurance company does not take care of all or part of the bill, the financial responsibility typically falls to the patient. Decide how long you will wait for payment from the insurance agency before billing the patient. Some practices keep the average medical office time frame like 45 days. Partial remainders due will also need to be billed to the patient, with a typical net due in 10 to 15 days.
You need to decide whether you will bill secondary insurance companies. Standard practice does not include billing secondary insurance companies for those who have multiple insurance plans, but many medical offices require patients to make payments in full and request reimbursement from their insurance company. If you are planning to charge a secondary insurance company, add that detail at the time of patient registration.
Clearly mention how long does a patient's account need to be overdue before you will take further action. You also need to how frequent follow-ups will be taken and what are the additional charges/fines for late payment. If you are planning to approach a collection agency then also mention the time frame and criteria before any account is sent to a collection agency. Also mention, at what point will you stop seeing patients before they need to pay their bills in full.
Take help from a lawyer to review your financial policy. Before you post this information to the general public, consider hiring or consulting a lawyer to look over your financial policy to make sure you have addressed all necessary issues and are covered against potential problems.
Medical Billers and Coders (MBC) is a leading medical billing company providing complete revenue cycle solutions. While working with medical practices of various sizes we observed a few things which worked for them in collecting more patient payments. We shared those observations in form of an article that might also help in creating strong financial policies for your practice. If you need any assistance in medical billing and coding for your practice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/888-357-3226.Back