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When Collecting Patient Payments, Timing is Everything

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timing-is-everythingIf you’ve ever surfed, photographed children, caught a football or participated in any activity requiring the alignment of specific circumstances, you’ve experienced the truth of the saying, “Timing is everything.”

This sentiment also applies to patient payment. Research has shown that the moment a patient leaves after their visit, 50 percent are less likely to pay the bill.

Patients are shouldering the rising cost of care via higher deductibles and co-payments. Employee insurance plans with deductibles of $1,000 or higher have tripled since 2006, and a recent study shows that the average out of pocket deductible an individual under the Affordable Care Act bronze individual plan is $5,081 per year.

In this new era of greater financial responsibility, patients need up-front information along with consumer-friendly payment options that are optimally timed with their episode of care. A suggested workflow for collecting point-of-service collections is outlined below:

1. Collect co-pay prior to service.
2. Provide an estimate at point of service.
3. Ask the patient to sign the estimate and provide payment authorization for services up to this amount.
4. Swipe the patient’s credit card to tokenize, or securely store digitally, its information so you can charge it later.
5. Submit the claim and receive payment from payer.
6. Alert the patient about the impending charge via email or text.
7. Bill the securely stored, or tokenized, credit card and send a payment receipt.

Through proactive, up-front eligibility, bill estimation and payment processes, you can work timing to your benefit – offering convenience to patients while getting paid faster.

Learn more about the importance of timing as part of your overall patient collections process by downloading the Patient Collections: Business Critical for Today’s Medical Practices white paper authored by Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC.