Most of the practice owners work really hard to understand payer billing and coding guidelines and reimbursement policies. Their intention is to receive accurate insurance reimbursements on time from private as well as government payers. But while making such strategies they miss on the prominent payer i.e., their patients. You will be surprised to know that the patient’s payments account for a significant percentage of practice revenue almost 35 percent in 2016. As per the InstaMed survey report, in 2019, the patients had experienced a 162 percent increase in deductible burden over the past decade. These survey stats tell us that patients are financially responsible for a higher portion of their medical care than ever before. But since patients aren’t granted the same considerations as every other payer, providers can miss out on a huge potential revenue stream. In this blog, we shared 5 steps that will help you in increasing your patient payment collections. It will help you streamline your operational efforts in order to capture complete reimbursement and achieve patient-payment success.
Increasing Patient Payment Collections in 5 Steps
Step 1: Identify Patients as Payers
Practically speaking, every patient you treat is a payer. There are few patients who aren’t financially liable for at least some portion of their care. As a result, every patient should be communicated honestly and openly about your practice’s financial policies and expectations. The number of patients with high-deductible insurance coverage continues to rise and you’ve probably noticed that you have even more high-deductible patients than you did just a few years ago. This is no time to get complacent in your reimbursement strategy. With just a little planning, patients with high deductibles can easily be identified by front desk staff or medical billing professionals. Maintaining transparency and open channels of communication with every patient right from the beginning increases patient collection as well as builds trust between patients and providers.
Step 2: Identify Out-of-Pocket Costs
An overwhelming 89 percent of patients report that they prefer to know their payment responsibility upfront. Even more telling, 65 percent of patients are reportedly more willing to make a payment if they knew the estimated cost at the time of service. Based on these findings, giving your patients an accurate cost estimate is crucial to getting paid. Don’t leave the calculation to chance and don’t leave patients in the dark. Boosting revenue and avoiding extended collection times, starts with building your knowledge of patient benefits. Resources like provider Portals allow your staff to access detailed benefits information including how much of the deductible has already been met and how much the patient is responsible for before insurance starts paying. Gathering this information, coupled with a complete understanding of your fee schedule, will allow you to better educate each patient about their financial responsibility. As a result, patients will be much more likely to fulfill their financial obligations to your practice if they are equipped with the information upfront.
Step 3: Creating Patient Payment Collections Policies
With revised healthcare plans, patients’ deductible burden has become so great, patient-payment policies should be of top priority if you want to capture this commonly overlooked revenue stream. Take the time to create patient payment collections policies, doing so could uncover explanations for drops in inpatient payments. For example, ten years ago it may have been reasonable to uphold a financial policy requiring patients to pay for services, in full, within 30 days. But now that deductibles are over twice the amount that they were a decade before, practices have to take into consideration that the patient financial burden is greater, and thus, they should have more time to settle. Consider exploring more flexible payment policies that would stand to benefit both the patient and your practice.
Step 4: Review Your KPIs
The best way to measure the success of your efforts and ensure you capitalize on this revenue stream is to regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs). Be sure to generate reports with the proper parameters in order to obtain the best insights. You can ask yourselves questions like is outstanding patient AR decreasing? Are more payments being collected at the time of service? How many patients are paying using online payment platforms? Each KPIs will provide valuable data for you to measure the success of your patient payment strategy.
Step 5: Provide Online Payment Solutions
The vast majority of patients (84 percent) pay non-healthcare bills online, this demonstrates an incredible opportunity for practices to capitalize on this already established consumer behavior. There are many ways you can strengthen patient payer relationships through the payment experience. Online payments can be processed at the patient’s convenience, increasing the probability of medical bill remittance. Various online payments solutions allow patients to securely store card information for future or recurring payments. This increases the likelihood that patients will continue paying for offered services.
Seeing patients as payers is a huge part of growing and maintaining a financially healthy modern practice. Following these 5 steps will help in increasing patient payment collections for your practice. Some practices may find it difficult to follow these 5 steps as they may not have qualified staff to handle these tasks or they are too busy and are unable to dedicate much time to monitor patient collections activities. In such cases, you can explore our medical billing and coding services which include patient payment collections services. We help you in finding out exact patient responsibilities and ways to collect them. To know more about our revenue cycle management services, contact us at email@example.com / 888-357-3226