Patients today are increasingly more responsible for a higher percentage of their total health care bills. In addition to co-payments, some patients may have deductibles that range as high as $2,500 to $5,000, notes Betsy Nicoletti, M.S., CPC in a new video produced by Kareo: How to Improve Your Time of Service Collections. Betsy is the founder of Codapedia.com and is a well-respected authority in matters that pertain to practice management and medical billing. Kareo provides these videos with experts such as Betsy to help practice managers and medical billers achieve more success and better cash flow.
In the webinar, Betsy gives an excellent overview of assertive, proactive collection strategies in a video that lasts no more than five minutes. This blog will summarize her recommendations but cannot cover every salient point in Betsy’s informative presentation. To do that, view How to Improve Your Time of Service Collections now (or click on the video below). For the “Cliff Notes” version, keep reading.
Betsy stresses that the first important step in collecting what is due to you is knowing if the patient had insurance, what type it is, and if the deductible has been met. Some practice management systems will do batch verifications and eligibility, and will return information on any deductibles that haven’t been met. If yours does not offer this function, you will need to check the payors’ websites for this information on each patient.
Betsy also advises that each practice have a financial policy in writing that is given to each patient. There are many free examples on the internet. Use a welcoming tone but be sure it spells out that you expect to be paid. If a high balance leads a patient to request a payment plan, don’t be a bank for long – try to limit the term to six months. Otherwise, you are giving free interest while carrying the balance on your books. And require that the arrangement utilizes a recurring payment system such as automatic debits to a credit card.
In today’s economy, it is increasingly common that some accounts will end up in collections. If that happens, be sure to change that patient’s status in your practice management system, noting the outstanding balance. If and when the patient opts to return, ask for the balance due and require cash going forward before accepting them back to the practice. Any balances that go to collections should be written off from your days in accounts receivables. Otherwise, those unpaid balances will skew your calculations on accounts over 120 days and make it difficult to trend your true A/R.
Kareo offers a powerful yet user-friendly solution to effectively handle your medical billing from appointments to payments and collections. Learn more about Kareo medical billing software and its unique capabilities aimed at generating more cash for your practice.
Betsy Nicoletti, M.S., CPC, is the founder of Codapedia.com, a wiki for physician reimbursement. She is a nationally known speaker and consultant, and can be reached at www.mpconsulting.org. You can watch an informational video by Betsy Nicoletti on Better Collections Through Improved Medical Coding now. Or, view her archived webinar on What You Can Do to Prepare for Medicare Payment Reductions.