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5 Ways Practices Can Collect More From Patients to Bring in Cash

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5 Ways Practices Can Collect More From Patients to Bring in Cash

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Patient collections

Medical practices spend hours every week working with insurers to collect reimbursement—but a much less discussed method of bringing cash into your practice is to maximize the money you bring in from patient collections. Ensuring that you collect copays, coinsurance and deductibles allows you to get the most reimbursement possible.

Check out five ways to boost patient collections at your practice.

1. First, Know the Categories

Before you can optimize your patient collections, you must know the amounts they might owe your practice:

  • Copayment: This is a set amount that patients must pay every time they see the doctor, considered the patient’s portion of the visit. This amount is typically printed on the patient’s insurance card, but you may need to call the insurer to verify it in some cases.
  • Deductible: Some insurance plans ask the patient to pay a certain amount of money before their insurance benefits kick in, an amount known as the deductible. For instance, if a patient has a $1,000 deductible, that means they must pay the first $1,000 of eligible medical costs before insurance pays anything.
  • Coinsurance: This is the portion of the medical bill that the patient is responsible for after meeting the deductible. If a patient’s coinsurance is 20%, then the health insurance plan pays 80% of the visit costs and the patient pays the remaining 20%.

Patients often also have out-of-pocket maximums, which means the insurance plan will only make the patient pay a certain amount out of their own pocket before everything is covered in full by the insurer.

2. Optimize Your Patient Financial Responsibility Form

If you think your patient financial responsibility form is just a formality, think again. It’s one of the most important factors in giving you the ability to collect from patients.

If a patient has a balance at your practice, you need the patient responsibility form in place to demonstrate the fact that the patient is financially responsible for that balance. It’s essentially a contract between you and the patient to pay, just as the insurance contract is a confirmation that the insurer will pay its share. In addition, if the patient has a lapse in insurance or their claim gets denied completely, that patient responsibility form will allow you to go directly to the patient for payment.

3. Collect From Patients at the Time of Service

You’re exponentially more likely to collect from patients while they’re standing in front of you rather than waiting for them to leave. At that point, you must employ time-consuming and expensive strategies to get your money back. Make sure you have policies and procedures in place to have patients pay on the date of service.

You must also train staff members to collect at the time of service, which can be challenging. If the line to check in or out gets long, or you misread the patient’s policy, the front office staff may not collect on the date of service, which can ultimately cost you money.

4. Consider Keeping Credit Cards on File

If a patient fails to show up at an appointment, or doesn’t pay their coinsurance or copay, you can automatically bill the credit card they have on file for the charge. The caveat is that the patient must sign your credit card policy and you have to keep their credit card information secure, just as you would their protected health information.

5. Make Patient Payments Easier

The more options you have for patient payments, the better the odds you’ll collect. Some patients may want to write checks, while others might prefer to pay you through the patient portal. If you have the security set up properly, you can also offer new payment methods, like those that allow them to pay through links you text to them.

Want more ways to bring in cash? Healthcare attorney Amanda Waesch, Esq., can walk you through the steps that will allow you to maximize income. During her one-hour session, Copays: What to Charge, When to Waive & How to Collect More, you’ll master the strategies every practice needs for strong collections programs.

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