Collecting from patients is one of the more difficult aspects of medical practice management. But few medical practices will survive without collecting a high percentage of amounts due from patients, whether they are insured or not.
Medical practices must make a concerted effort to collect copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, amounts for services not covered by insurance, and charges to uninsured patients. The reimbursement rates that third-party payers allow take into account what medical practices collect from patients. Today’s high deductible health plans mean patients are less likely to satisfy their deductibles until well into the plan year.
The best ways to ensure your medical practice collects from patients is to:
- Verify insurance
- Estimate the patient’s responsibility
- Collect as much of that as possible before, or just after, medical services are provided
- Provide a number of payment options to make it easy for patients to pay
- Establish an effective program to collect amounts that patients cannot pay at the time of service
- Monitor the success of collection efforts
Studies from Medical Economics indicate that collection rates for insured patients can be as low as 50% to 70% after the patient walks out the door. The rate continues to decline as time passes and before an account is turned over to a collection agency. Similarly, the collection rate can be only 10% for uninsured patients. And surprisingly, studies also indicate that over half of patients are willing to pay $200 to $500 or more by credit or debit card at the time of a physician visit.
Learn more about ways to improve collection efforts at the time of service by clicking below.