With high deductible health plans on the rise, patients are expected to shoulder more of the cost of healthcare; yet practices are finding it difficult to collect. In part because patients don't understand their plans; but also because staff may be unprepared to collect patient obligations.
With high deductible health plans on the rise, patients are expected to shoulder more of the cost of healthcare; yet practices are finding it difficult to collect. Many patients aren’t prepared to pay their portion because they don’t understand how their high deductible plan works and may be accustomed to paying small co-pays at the time of visit. On the other hand, staff is often unprepared to collect high deductible patient portions and may have no policy in place to guide and support their efforts.
Practices and clinics must change how they communicate about and collect patient payments in order to curtail the rising age and amount in their accounts receivable (A/R) due to the increase in patient responsibility. One of the first steps is to prepare a clear, strong patient financial policy.
By educating and preparing patients about what your practice and their insurer expects from them financially, you improve the odds of collecting in full for what you’ve already earned and contracted for. But before you can support your staff in enforcing the policy and educating your patients, you must create the policy! Here are some tips to help guide you:
Once you have a strong, patient-friendly and defined self-pay financial policy, it’s important that you communicate it clearly to patients as well as educate and support your entire staff to enforce it.
Most patients want to stay in good standing with their physicians financially. Your practice can help them feel good about doing so when they are prepared and communicated to clearly by friendly, helpful practice staff. Begin with your policy, then educate patients by communicating it in several ways (e.g., website and signing at first visit) and lastly, get practice leaders and staff on board to support the goal of getting paid all that you’re owed, sooner and faster!