Collecting unpaid deductibles has always been a great challenge for practices of any size. Things have gone bad to worse with the introduction of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). With more patients adopting HDHP due to low premiums, ultimate patient responsibility is increasing exponentially. Your front desk team is presented with unique challenges during the first few months of the calendar year when deductibles reset.
This time period, typically January through March, is known as deductible season. However, the deductible season does not have to be synonymous with collection challenges, dips in revenue, and confused patients. There are steps practices can take to quickly collect the unpaid deductibles while creating positive patient experiences.
The new year means new insurance plans for many patients. However, it's quite common for patients to forget to update their providers. In such cases, make it mandatory to check for insurance coverage for various medical services well before patients come in for their next or first visit. By eligibility and benefits verification, data is up to date and you get paid the full amount on time. To speed up the process, you can use the provider portal to check the patient’s benefits reports. You can also take a printout of their benefits report and attach it to the patient’s file.
You can directly call the insurance carrier and get a benefits report. You can also check for insurance coverage by sharing specific procedure codes. Checking for eligibility ahead of time allows practices to communicate the most accurate information to patients when they arrive for their visit. When the front desk is organized, well-informed, and knowledgeable, it builds trust and loyalty in patients.
Collect updated insurance from every patient at his or her first visit of the year. This is especially important during the months of January through March when out-of-pocket costs are higher because deductibles have not yet been met. You can upload new insurance cards in medical billing software for easy referencing. Scanning images of patients’ insurance cards into a HIPAA-compliant billing software saves time and reduces the likelihood of human error.
If any patient has another active insurance coverage, then you can check whether it can be billed as a secondary payer. This activity must be done for new as well as for established patients also.
Before you see a patient, use the patient waiting time to collect payment. You have to organize your payment collection flowchart accordingly. Well-informed and knowledgeable front desk staff who are capable of reading patient benefits reports can collect patient co-payments or unpaid deductibles at the time of visit only.
Patients don’t like high pressure around money when they visit their doctor, so practices need to make sure the payment process is streamlined and low stress. If you remove ambiguity around what patients owe, they will be more comfortable paying.
Healthcare providers get paid faster when payment is easier. Give patients the choice to pay with a credit card, digital wallet, phone payment, or paper checks. When you email the invoices to the patients, they must contain the payment link for easy payment. Clear communication is the key. No one likes to spend hours on the phone sorting out medical bills. But once all doubts are cleared, patients need easier payment options to make the payments.
Patients are naturally unaware of unpaid deductibles as they consider their insurance coverage as active for all the procedures without any additional expenses. So, it’s quite obvious that they have a few questions about insurance coverage and medical bills. Your team should be always ready and equipped with the required information to answer these questions with empathy. The faster a patient is able to get his question answered, the faster you’ll receive payment.
Medical Billers and Coders (MBC) is a leading medical billing company providing complete Revenue Cycle Services. We can share benefits/insurance coverage reports for every patient visit helping you to understand patient responsibilities like co-payments, deductibles, or even non-covered services.
Along with benefits reports, we provide complete billing services like charge entry, payment posting, denials management, AR management, provider enrollment, and credentialing. Our team of expert billers, coders, and AR professionals works diligently to receive accurate insurance and patient payments for your practice.
To know more about our specialty-wise billing services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/ 888-357-3226.