With the New Year come new opportunities and new challenges in collecting patient balances. The struggle is real when it comes to determining your patient’s new or changed insurance plans and managing a new batch of deductibles that patients are obligated to pay. You can eliminate much of the pain by proactively planning before the patient visits the office.
Checking a patient’s eligibility electronically with the insurance information you have on file from their last visit is a great place to start. Many practice management and billing solutions will allow you to inquire before patients come to the office for a scheduled appointment, sometimes even weeks in advance, and will alert you if their eligibility status has changed. If you don’t have access to an automated solution, most major insurers offer free online tools where an office coordinator could access benefit information using the patient’s coverage details.
Once you know which patients have had coverage changes, resist the urge to pick up the phone! That will lead to more struggles for you as you play phone tag. Reach out to patients securely using your patient portal, attach a form for them to update their information and reply.
Once you know the patient’s insurance status and deductible information you can plan to collect these balances or arrange a payment plan on the day of their visit. Deductibles can vary and some patients will pay thousands out of pocket before coverage begins. Consider using a secure payment solution that allows you to keep the patient’s credit card on file to charge their monthly payments.
Collecting patient balances at the time of service and eliminating the paper billing process saves your practice precious time and headaches for you and your patients. With a little proactive planning and the right tools you can focus on the New Year opportunities.