As consumers, we’re all accustomed to paying for a flight in advance or providing a credit card number to hold a hotel reservation. However, paying upfront for medical procedures is essentially a foreign concept and times are changing.
As patient fees represent a growing portion of a practice’s overall revenue, providers can no longer afford to wait until services are rendered to capture a patient’s financial responsibility. In fact, as this Healthcare Finance News article points out, once patients leave the hospital following a procedure, they are 50 percent less likely to pay the bill.
With high-deductible health plans, private and public insurance exchanges and Affordable Care Act (ACA) activities all pushing out-of-pocket fees higher than they’ve ever been, practices must completely rethink the way they approach patient collections. For many organizations, this means investing in new systems and technologies, including automated eligibility that verifies patients’ insurance coverage and the benefits for which they are eligible. This helps practices determine the correct co-pay, co-insurance and deductible amount so they can accurately calculate the patient portion due.
But that’s just half the battle. Aside from implementing new tools, this article also discusses the importance of training staff on how to collect point-of-service payments from patients, particularly since this represents a completely new task for most front-office personnel.
Once you’ve had a chance to read, let us know where your practice stands. Are you already collecting from patients at the time of service? If so, what has been your biggest challenge so far?