As patient accounts receivable (A/R) increases for medical practices, it is more important to have a solid program in place for your patient collections. Collecting copays at check in isn’t enough, and you don’t want to leave that money uncollected.
According to Forbes, the amount patients are paying has doubled in the last five years. Other studies suggest patients are paying as much as 30% of their medical costs out of pocket. In turn, patient A/R is now about 30% for your practice.
While most payers provide copay information when you check eligibility, the rest of the data you get can vary widely. Even if you can get deductible and coinsurance, your staff may not be able to process the superbill before the patient leaves the office. So figuring out even an estimated patient due amount is often unrealistic. This makes it tough to collect those balances at the ideal time—before the patient leaves.
Some practices are using credit card on file effectively to collect those balances without even sending a statement. Still, credit card on file usually has a cap of $100-200. So, how can you improve collection of larger balances on the back end? By improving your patient statements process!
Here are three ways to do that:
- Don’t send statements on a monthly cycle. The longer a patient balance goes unpaid, the less likely you are to get paid. As soon as you have the ERA back from the payer and know the patient due amount, send the statement.
- Use professional statements. Whether they are printed in-house or through a service, professional statements are more likely to be paid. There are however many benefits to using the patient statement service. In fact, it is often less expensive and faster.
- Offer electronic statements as well as paper along with online billpay. It takes a few days for a printed statement to get to the patient. Then, they pay it when they get around to writing a check. When you send an email that they have an electronic statement, they get it immediately. When they view the statement, the option to pay is right there on the screen. They are much more likely to pay in the moment.