Collecting Deductibles from Patients
As a healthcare provider, your prime focus is supporting your patients and meeting their healthcare needs. But while quality patient care is essential, you can’t run your practice without having sound administrative systems in place to keep the office operating efficiently.One of the most tedious tasks is collecting patient payments. As lots of insurers are buying High Deductibles Health Plans (HDHP), collecting unpaid deductibles becomes a prime task for any practice owner. In this article, we shared basic tips on collecting deductibles from patients. These tips would be helpful to you immediately as a new year is about to start and deductibles get rest from 1st Jan every year.
A deductible is what patients pay before the insurance company starts contributing to medical bills. Insurance deductibles can be anywhere from $0 to $10,000. For example, with a $2,000 deductible, insurers have to pay the first $2,000 of covered services. Generally, deductibles are updated if a patient renews their health plan or signs up for a new one through an employer. Typically a deductible year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 and gets reset every January 1. Some people who have low deductibles meet their deductible threshold quicker than those who have high deductibles. Generally, plans with lower monthly premiums have higher deductibles.
Collecting Deductibles from Patients
Collecting Deductibles at Point-of-Care
The only way to collect unpaid deductibles is by collecting them at the point of care. Most practices generally submit the claim and reassign the patient portion when they receive payment feedback from the insurance carrier. Eligibility and benefits verification serves as a baseline for collecting deductibles at the point of care. It’s well-known fact that collecting patient payments once they leave the office is really challenging. You have to start sending patient statements and need to take continuous follow-ups for patients to make payments. It s a costly option as such follow-ups consume a lot of your teams’ crucial time.
Eligibility and Benefits Verification
Through eligibility and benefits verification activities, ensure that you have insurance coverage reports for the next two days’ appointments. Patients’ deductibles vary as per insurance carriers and their individual health plans. Once you have the insurance coverage report, your front desk team can inform the patient about their unpaid deductibles prior to the visit. A well-informed/educated patient is in the right mindset and ready to make payments at the time of visit only.
Assigning Responsibility to Staff
Assign responsibility to specific staff member/s to collect all patient payments (including unpaid deductibles) at the time of service. This team member will be responsible for communicating with patients prior to their visit about patient responsibilities. By assigning the responsibility to specific staff in the office, there won’t be any questions about who will manage the initial collection and payment follow-through when needed.
Along with patient education, training staff on handling patient or patient communication is equally important. Collecting deductibles from patients should not deteriorate the overall patient experience. You can improve the patient experience by offering simple digital payment platforms and user-friendly forms to minimize potential frustration. Your staff should be trained on collecting deductibles in the right way. Rather than asking questions to patients like “Are you able to pay today?” ask open-ended questions like “I see your patient balance is $150, would you like to pay with cash or a credit card?”
Offer Payment Options
Providing various ways for patients to take care of their unpaid deductibles will increase the likelihood that they’ll make the payment at the time of the visit only. A concerned staff member can begin their conversation by telling the patient about the total balance and bifurcation. Then, he can suggest available payment options and payment plans as per office policies. You can set up recurring payments on a credit card if someone can’t pay the total amount immediately or refer the patient to financing options. Make sure that everyone is on the same page about unpaid deductibles. As mentioned earlier, be upfront about the service costs before the appointment so each patient knows about their financial responsibility.
When you have the right processes for collecting deductibles from patients, you reduce the stress of cash flow management and other financial concerns. Legion Healthcare Solutions which is a leading medical billing company can assist you in collecting deductibles from patients. Along with our complete medical billing and coding services, we provide eligibility and benefits services which will help you to estimate exact patient responsibility prior to patient visits. Contact us at 727-475-1834 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about our billing and coding services.