As medical insurance premiums keep growing (at an average annual rate of 7.1 percent [AHIP 2010]), employers are switching to lower cost, high-deductible health plans. This trend is leading to a complete decline in payor payments and a consequent rise in patient payments. This can continue through the entire next decade since the Affordable Care Act rolls out. Because of this, billing services along with their clients are more influenced by patients for revenue. To gather more from patients, many billing services began to use patient-centered strategies, including payment plans. However, to enhance results and increase efficiency for clients, billing services need to ensure that they may have implemented best practices for Eligibility Verification.
Data from your 2011 “Trends in Healthcare Payments” report implies that using payment plans for healthcare payments has doubled since 2009.1 Inside the same report, 63 percent of surveyed patients said that they might utilize payment plans for his or her healthcare bills if given the option.
Many billing services support payment plans manually by running a calendar that shows when each payment is owed and by calling patients to collect every month. This process is a element of the correct direction, however it enhances the billing service’s work effort, does not ensure payment for your client, and it has security flaws. Whether the repayment plan is set up whilst the patient is in the office or after a statement is sent, billing services as well as their clients should securely collect and store payment information to enable them to automatically collect payments if they are due.
Even when a patient authorizes automated monthly installments, he or she may still forget about the payment until it appears on their own next statement, which may create confusion and costly chargebacks. Improve communication and provide payment transparency by automating email notifications to patients just before each payment transaction. It is ideal for billing services to provide patients some flexibility and choice in how much they pay every month, however it is also necessary that they set parameters and stick to them. As a standard best practice, billing services should charge a minimum monthly instalment of $100 or require the bill be paid in full within twelve months.
Payment plans work nicely for patients who are unable to pay for the full bill simultaneously, but billing services should avoid allowing payment plans to turn into a way for patients to put off paying whatsoever. Create a policy that patients must pay a certain portion of the bill upon establishing a payment per month plan. Tailor Payment Plans to Patient Needs. Depending on the scenario, there are three main varieties of payment intends to offer patients:
Installment: Collect payments against an exceptional balance and deactivate the plan automatically when the total balance is paid.
Recurring: Collect payments with a regular, ongoing interval as being a subscription service. Save on File: Save a patient’s payment card on file to collect the remaining amount owed when the claim is adjudicated. This can be useful uqgjld the patient’s payment responsibility is unknown throughout the patient visit; for instance, if the patient has a high deductible.
By using best practices when offering patient payment plans, billing services can ensure payment for his or her clients, even from self-pay or high-deductible patients. Automated, scheduled payment plans save billing services a lot of time and expenses to send out multiple patient statements making follow-up calls to patients in addition to improve patient communication and clarity around the payment process.