There are many challenges across the healthcare industry when it comes to collecting patient payments. Even in the best case scenario, once a service is completed your office has to wait a little over a month to get reimbursed from the patient’s insurance or receive a self-pay payment.
Over the past few years, there has been a substantial amount of how much financial burden is placed on the patient. As we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of patients seeking for care of some sort is likely to decrease. Yet, on the other hand, unemployment has dramatically increased and these potential patients have lost their insurance coverage through their employer.
As we know, paying for medical bills on top of living expenses and other debt has always been a problem for patients. Unfortunately now with many feeling the effects of the economic impact of the global pandemic, that may become even more of an issue. Now, maybe more so than ever, it is important to implement some patient engagement strategies in your practice to assist in payment collection.
Here are seven strategies for your practice to implement to improve the payment collection process:
- Double check insurance eligibility for every patient. Once before the visit and again before sending the insurance claim.
- Create and implement a simple, but straightforward financial policy that addresses payment requirements and provide it to every patient.
- Train staff on enforcing said policy, answering questions about it, and help patients who need assistance to find a mutually beneficial solution.
- Offer several different payment and financial assistance options with payment plans for patients to pay a smaller rate over a period of time.
- Estimate the total cost of the visit or procedure and provide that information to each patient so they are also prepared financially.
- Be proactive, not reactive, about payment discussions with patients. Make sure your practice is available in multiple ways to communicate with patients.
- Provide a multitude of payment method options for the patients like a patient portal, mail, or by phone and make sure each payment method option is clearly listed on the patient’s statements along with the outstanding balance and due date.
As the pandemic continues, it is important for your practice to figure out how to maintain cash flow. Being proactive about it now will allow you to take better care of your patients!