As medical health insurance premiums keep growing (with an average annual rate of 7.1 percent [AHIP 2010]), employers are switching to lower cost, high-deductible health plans. This trend is causing a general decline in payor payments along with a consequent boost in patient payments. This will continue throughout the next decade because the Affordable Care Act rolls out. Consequently, billing services as well as their customers are more dependent on patients for revenue. To accumulate more from patients, many billing services started to use patient-centered strategies, like payment plans. However, to boost results and increase efficiency for his or her clients, billing services need to ensure that they may have implemented best practices for Eligibility Verification.
Data from the 2011 “Trends in Healthcare Payments” report implies that the usage of payment plans for healthcare payments has doubled since 2009.1 Within the same report, 63 percent of surveyed patients claimed that they would utilize payment plans for their healthcare bills if due to the option.
Many billing services support payment plans manually by running a calendar that shows when each payment is owed and through calling patients to accumulate on a monthly basis. This technique is really a part of the best direction, but it increases the billing service’s work effort, will not ensure payment for your client, and it has security flaws. Whether the repayment schedule is established while the patient is in the office or after a statement is sent, billing services along with their clients should securely collect and store payment information to enable them to automatically collect payments when they are due.
Even if the patient authorizes automated monthly installments, he or she might still overlook the payment until it shows up on their own next statement, which might create confusion and costly chargebacks. Improve communication and offer payment transparency by automating email notifications to patients before each payment transaction. It is ideal for billing services to offer patients some flexibility and choice in how much they pay monthly, however it is also necessary they set parameters and stick to them. Being a standard best practice, billing services should charge a minimum monthly instalment of $100 or require that the bill be paid entirely within 12 months.
Payment plans work effectively for patients who are not able to pay for the full bill simultaneously, but billing services should avoid allowing payment plans to turn into a means for patients to put off paying at all. Create a policy that patients must pay a particular portion of the bill upon starting a payment per month plan. Tailor Payment Wants to Patient Needs. Depending on the scenario, you will find three main varieties of payment wants to offer patients:
Installment: Collect payments against an exceptional balance and deactivate the master plan automatically if the total balance is paid.
Recurring: Collect payments at a regular, ongoing interval being a subscription service. Spend less on File: Save a patient’s payment card on file to gather the other amount owed when the claim is adjudicated. This is useful uqgjld the patient’s payment responsibility is unknown through the patient visit; as an example, when the patient features a high deductible.
By using best practices when offering patient payment plans, billing services can ensure payment for clients, even from self-pay or high-deductible patients. Automated, scheduled payment plans save billing services considerable time and expenses to send multiple patient statements making follow-up calls to patients as well as improve patient communication and clarity round the payment process.