Patient Payment Solutions Help Doctors Focus More on Giving Quality Care

By Sonny Singh  |  October 30, 2019

My 13-year old son has his whole life already planned out. He plans to wrestle Varsity as a freshman in high-school, get a 4.5 GPA, blow up his MMA apparel brand business into an annual million-dollar revenue behemoth, get into Stanford on a wrestling scholarship and then go to medical school (maybe at Yale) before becoming a dermatologist, focusing on infectious diseases.

He is way more aspirational than I was at his age!

When he asked me the other day what I thought about him becoming a dermatologist, my words were something to the effect of, “That’s great, but it won’t be easy and you’ll need to grind extra hard." I happen to know that dermatology is one of the most popular and therefore, hardest specialties to get into because it pays the highest and practices are typically cash-based– meaning dermatologists won’t get stiffed by their patients and insurance companies. This is because payments are due the day treatment is administered.

Our recent conversation made me ruminate on this far too common conundrum that current and future physicians face every day: struggling with getting paid for their services while wanting to focus  on providing optimal care to their patients. The irony is that when a newly minted physician takes their Hippocratic Oath, their financial focus should be more about paying off their student loans instead of not being fairly compensated for their services.

The data below doesn’t lie. It’s a fact that physicians aren’t collecting all the patient fees they are likely owed. It doesn’t help that healthcare costs are rising exponentially, and patients are paying increasingly more out of their pocket for the same health care services as before.

  • According to MGMA, about 30% of patients leave a practice without paying a dime, and practices will send out an average of three statements before collecting the full balance.
     
  • Consumer payment responsibility is on the rise and remains a powerful driver of that growth with out-of-pocket spending reaching $365 billion in 2017 or 10 percent of the total National Health Expenditure (NHE).
     
  • Consumer payment responsibility is skyrocketing with out-of-pocket spending reaching $365 billion in 2017.
     
  • As payment responsibility increases for medical bills, healthcare providers are left to collect more often from their patients and for higher amounts.
  • The digital age has brought new spending habits for consumers, giving rise to the on-demand economy and overall growth in eCommerce spending. However, healthcare largely has not adopted the technological advances of the digital age and the consumer payments experience has suffered.
     

Here are some additional facts:

  • In 2018, 85% of covered workers have a deductible, up from 59% in 2008.
  • The average deductible was $1,573 in 2018, up from $735 in 2008.
  • Over the last decade, total increases in medical premiums have outpaced both the growth in the nation’s wages and inflation.
     
  • 61% of consumers received a bill for more than expected.
  • 24% of consumers were sent collections for unpaid medical bills.
     
  • 56% of consumers would not be able to pay a $1,000 + Medical Bill.
  • If faced with a $400 emergency medical expense, four in 10 adults would either borrow, sell something or not be able to pay.
  • 61% of consumers would consider switching providers for a better healthcare payments experience.

Out-of-pocket payment responsibility will continue to rise for patient medical bills, which means as a medical provider, you are on the hook to collect more from your patients. When you couple the inability for patients to pay rising healthcare and the archaic methods most practices rely on to collect these payments such as paper and manual processes, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully, there are robust, end-to-end patient payment solutions available that yield higher revenue and foster a positive relationship with your patients. If you want to thrive financially, collecting patient payments can no longer be an afterthought. By deploying a product such as Kareo's integrated patient payments solution, we can help practices optimize their patient collections, RCM and collect more money faster.

Kareo Patient Payments

Kareo’s end-to-end patient payments solutions are proven to be an essential part of a practice’s patient collections success plan. The single most effective method of collecting patient responsibility is to collect at the time of service and having an integrated self-pay solution in the front office gives you the ability to do just that. Empowering your front office staff and patients to pay at the time of service will also free up your biller to focus on other important revenue cycle management issues. Here are three best practices to help you be more successful with collecting from patients:

Streamline your workflow
Streamline the patient self-pay process to settle bills quickly and accurately and make sure insurance eligibility is verified electronically to minimize billing delays and denials.

Collect more, faster

Maximize up-front collections and ensure you aren’t left on the hook for unpaid medical bills. Reduce collection costs by having patients pay on time and in-full.

Future Proof Your Patient Collections

Upload and save credit cards and billing contact information for processing of co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance and to pay any balance owed post insurance claim adjudication.

With Kareo Patient Payments solutions, you receive the following features and benefits:

Patients Can Pay from Anywhere
Today’s diverse patient populations want diverse payment options. Offering easy methods to pay in person, online, by mobile or by mail will boost collections and help your patients.

No Hidden Fees Ever
With Kareo Patient Payments, we take the guess work out of what the customer needs to pay. With a competitive flat rate and per transaction cost, what you see, is what you get. No surprises ever.

For more information, please visit Kareo.com and find out more about the Kareo Patient Payments solution and how we can help optimize patient collections and increase your practice’s revenue!

 

 

 

Sources: 

MGMA, 2010

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

InstaMed Trends in Healthcare Payments Ninth Annual Report: 2018

 

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