As medical health insurance premiums continue to grow (at an average annual rate of 7.1 percent [AHIP 2010]), employers are switching to decrease cost, high-deductible health plans. This trend is resulting in a general reduction in payor payments as well as a consequent increase in patient payments. This will continue through the entire next decade since the Affordable Care Act rolls out. Consequently, billing services and their clients are more dependent on patients for revenue. To accumulate more from patients, many billing services started to use patient-centered strategies, such as payment plans. However, to improve results and increase efficiency for his or her clients, billing services need to make sure that they may have implemented best practices for Electronic Eligibility Verification.
Data from the 2011 “Trends in Healthcare Payments” report demonstrates that using payment plans for healthcare payments has doubled since 2009.1 Inside the same report, 63 percent of surveyed patients said that they would 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 gather on a monthly basis. This method is a step in the correct direction, but it adds to the billing service’s work effort, will not ensure payment for the client, and contains security flaws. Whether or not the payment plan is to establish as the patient is incorporated in the office or after having a statement is sent, billing services as well as their clients should securely collect and store payment information to allow them to automatically collect payments when they are due.
Even when an individual authorizes automated monthly payments, they might still forget about the payment until it turns up on the next statement, which might create confusion and costly chargebacks. Improve communication and present payment transparency by automating email notifications to patients just before each payment transaction. It is perfect for billing services to provide patients some flexibility and choice in how much they pay monthly, yet it is also necessary that they set parameters and stick to them. As being a standard best practice, billing services should charge a minimum monthly payment of $100 or require the bill be paid in full within 12 months.
Payment plans work effectively for patients who are not able to pay the full bill at the same time, but billing services should avoid allowing payment plans to become a means for patients to set off paying at all. Establish a policy that patients must pay a particular percentage of the bill upon establishing a monthly payment plan. Tailor Payment Plans to Patient Needs. Depending on the scenario, you will find three main kinds of payment wants to offer patients:
Installment: Collect payments against a superb balance and deactivate the master plan automatically once the total balance pays.
Recurring: Collect payments at a regular, ongoing interval as a subscription service. Spend less on File: Save a patient’s payment card on file to gather the remaining amount owed when the claim is adjudicated. This really is useful uqgjld the patient’s payment responsibility is unknown through the patient visit; for example, in the event the patient has a high deductible.
By simply following best practices when offering patient payment plans, billing services can ensure payment for their clients, even from self-pay or high-deductible patients. Automated, scheduled payment plans save billing services lots of time and costs to send out multiple patient statements making follow-up calls to patients in addition to improve patient communication and clarity across the payment process.