7 Tips For Timely Collection Of Medical Bills From Patients
Staying current on accounts receivable is one of the most important components in ensuring that your practice runs as smoothly as possible. Making sure that your patients pay their bills on time may take some time, effort, and planning, but doing so will help make sure that you are reimbursed for the services you provide and that your practice can thus be as effective as possible in delivering high quality care. Here are seven tips on how to collect payments from your patients in a timely manner.
1. Explain the Charges They Will Face at the Beginning of Treatment
One major thing that can delay payments is patients facing charges that are higher than they expected to pay, or more money than they can reasonably afford to spend on their medical bills. When possible, make sure someone in your office counsels your patient about the charges that they will incur because of their treatment.
If a patient expresses difficulty in paying, work with them to find a reasonable mode of payment that works for both parties, such as paying in installments.
2. Communicate With Insurance Companies
One of the leading causes of patient inability to pay is insurance companies who do not cover procedures or treatments that they assumed would be covered by their health insurance. Establish a solid line of communication between your office and your patient’s insurance company and try to make sure that all planned procedures and treatments have been pre-approved by their insurance company or are covered under the terms of their explanation of benefits.
3. Contract a Third Party Billing Company
For most practices, the task of keeping track of accounts receivable and maintaining correspondence with patients and insurance companies is simply too time consuming to keep inhouse. Enlist the help of a billing and coding agency, who will stay on top of all bills and ensure that they are paid in a timely manner.
Doing so not only decreases the time it takes to have bills paid, it also frees up time and resources for your staff to focus on matters at hand in the office.
4. Collect Copays and Other Related Fees at the Time of Visit
When possible, collect all copays prior to seeing patients, or before they leave your office. Collecting money that a patient owes, in accordance with their health insurance plan eliminates the need to collect certain funds after their visit and ensures that at least part of their bill is paid in full.
5. Be Polite When Communicating in Regard to Bills
Your patients likely do not want to have any past due bills with you and have chosen you as their doctor because they like your demeanor and the demeanor of those in your office. Keeping a friendly rapport with patients helps remind them of the importance of paying their bill on time and increases the ease of communication in the event that there are questions or concerns around billing.
6. Bill Promptly
Do not allow much time to pass between a patient’s visit and the time during which they are billed. Billing soon after a visit speeds up the time it takes for an insurance carrier to pay their portion of the bill and helps shorten the time it takes for you to be reimbursed.
7. Switch to an ERS
If you haven’t already, switch to an ERS. This will help ease communication between you and your patient, as they will have greater access to their records and thus understanding of their care. Greater understanding between you and your patients means fewer billing disputes and more timely paid bills.