Strategies to Improve Patient Collections

A 2015 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation on employer benefits found that out-of-pocket costs for patients increased by 230% over the previous 10 years. Furthermore, of the patients enrolled in ACA exchange plans, over 90% have high deductibles. These stats are a stark reminder that providers can no longer rely solely on insurance dollars. In today’s market, collecting balances from patients has become vital to the financial health of most prac- tices.

What can you do now to help collect more from your patients?

Sign up with HCA’s partner Instamed: Instamed gives your patients a convenient online payment option, and includes automated payment plans. Plus, HCA will be able to process all phone-in patient payments for you, decreasing your staff’s paperwork.

Formalize your financial policy: a consistent, firm financial policy tells patients what is expected of them, leading to fewer surprise bills and higher patient satisfaction. Make sure both you and your staff are on the same page regarding the policy, and develop a clear method of communicating these expectations to your patients.

Credit card on file: obtaining credit card info prior to services, and then processing payments when needed can improve cash flow while making the billing process more convenient for patients. The terms of your CCOF poli- cy should be included in your financial policy, and presented to your patients in writing.

Time of service collection: the best time to collect a patient balance is at the time of service. Research shows that 90% of patients will generally pay their outstanding or expected balance when asked before receiving treatment, while only 40% make payment after leaving the office.

Use a collection agency: a collection agency is a great way to recoup some of the losses from patients who refuse to pay. Furthermore, depending on your preferences, you can select an agency that does or does not report your balances to credit bureaus.

Taking these steps will help improve your financial performance in today’s age of high out-of-pocket plans. Please contact HCA if you have any questions about implementing these strategies.

Brandon McCurdy