Three Ways to Improve Patient Collections: Part 3

In part one of our three-part series on improving patient collections, we talked about the increase in patients as providers’ largest “payer,” especially with the proliferation of high deductible health plans (HDHPs). As well, we offered ways to make bill paying easy for patients, since as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Report “Consumer Experiences with Debt Collection: Findings from the CFPB’s Survey of Consumer Views on Debt” found, 31% of healthcare consumers did not find bills simple to pay; 42% found medical bills unaffordable, and 47% did not understand cost beforehand.

In part two, we discussed ways to improve your patient receivable by collecting payments at the earliest point possible in the revenue cycle, particularly focusing on the first 90 days, since according to accounting firm Abo and Co., accounts even up to 90 days old still have a 90% chance of being paid.

In this last of our three-part series, we’ll talk about the importance of not wasting time trying to collect payments from the wrong party or at the wrong address.

Verify Eligibility

Don’t waste time submitting claims to the wrong insurance company. Verify insurance information at each visit and check eligibility for every date of service. For patients who do not provide insurance information, check to see if they are covered by Medicaid or another government sponsored plan. And when claims are denied for eligibility reasons, contact patients immediately to get updated or correct information.

Maintain Updated Contact Info

A patient who doesn’t respond to a bill may not actually have received it. To ensure your statements get to the right place, verify contact information at every visit. Also, utilize the USPS Address Service Requested program to get updated mailing address information for patients who have moved and left forwarding information.

Finally, when patients do provide updated contact information, including addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses, be sure to update them throughout the patient’s account record, especially the billing screens.

Don’t let growing patient balances balloon your accounts receivable and create a barrier to the patient-physician relationship. Instead, try these three collection methods to keep your patients—and your bottom line—happy.