The new year is coming which means its time again for a new deductible season. January is the time most insurance companies restart the calculation of annual deductibles for their members. This re-setting of annual deductibles means a significant increase in patient responsibility. In a time where patient deductibles are very high, how are you going to ensure that your staff is collecting on these deductibles in order to get paid upfront. While patients still expect high-quality healthcare from physicians and prompt service when they come to your practice, they don’t necessarily expect to pay upon arrival – or departure. Talking to patients about money may not be easy, but the best time to collect for a patient balance is during the check-in process when the patient is in front of you. More and more payers are moving to real-time adjudication and other web-based tools to help your staff figure this out. Fortunately, you can do several things to increase collections while a patient is in your office.
- Offer a script to your front-end staff in order to achieve uniform communication when requesting payments at the time of service.
- Update each patients payment information at the front desk at every visit.
- Contact the insurance carrier to verify eligibility and that the patients coverage is still in effect.
- Establish your financial plan for both staff and patients to read and understand explaining when and how co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance will be collected.
- Educate new patients about your financial policies and their responsibilities.
- Accept credit, debit cards and ACH payments.
- Self-pay patients are different but remember, you can’t charge a self-pay patient less than you would charge patients covered by Medicare.
Patients will respect your asking for payment at the time of service as long as it’s done in a courteous manor. Show kindness when collecting, you expect to be paid.