In 2010, only 10 million consumers were enrolled in high deductible health plans (HDHPs), which require consumers to pay a minimum deductible amount before their health plans cover any portion of the cost. Less than a decade later, 75 million consumers are enrolled in HDHPs, a more than seven-fold increase. This type of health insurance requires providers to focus efforts on collecting patient payments, as they must rely on patients for a larger portion of their revenue.
As the New Year begins, deductible resets are a challenge for patients and providers alike. Patients may not fully understand deductible resets, their healthcare plan’s policies or healthcare vernacular in general. When patients are confused, they are less likely to pay their balance to providers. Additionally, some patients may not be able to pay their bills in full when deductibles reset to their annual maximum amount, which can be as high as $6,000 for a family health plan. As a result, deductible resets cause cash flow and collection problems for provider organizations, while also causing a strain in their relationships with patients.
Here are three quick tips to ensure payments are collected efficiently – all while helping patients better manage payment responsibility when deductibles reset.
- Be Upfront and Clearly Communicate Patient Responsibility
No one likes surprises, especially when it comes to a large medical bill. The Seventh Annual Trends in Healthcare Payments Report shows that 92 percent of consumers want to know payment responsibility prior to a provider visit. Patients may not realize how much their treatment will cost, especially when deductibles reset to their annual maximum amount. Instead, providers can offer patients an estimate of payment responsibility before or during a visit to help patients better understand what they may owe. When providers set payment expectations, it helps to improve the patient experience while also allowing them to collect more payments.
The payment estimate is also an opportunity to discuss all payment options available to the patient to make collection that much easier after the responsibility is determined by the health plan.
- Save Patient Payment Methods To Automatically Collect Balances
Providers can help patients pay down larger balances by setting up automated payment plans by securely saving a payment method on file. Payment plans are great for patients who are unable to pay the full bill at once, and for providers to ensure payments with less staff intervention. As a best practice, communicate expectations and establish policies for payment plans, including a minimum amount a patient must pay each month and an end date for when the bill must be paid off in full. Providers can also discuss options with the patient to leverage the saved payment method to automatically collect a smaller balance when a new claim is adjudicated. Not only does this guarantee payment and deliver payment faster, it also offers patients the added convenience of not receiving a paper statement or taking out a payment card to pay smaller balances. Learn how an orthopedics center automates more than 80% of their patient collections with this process.
- Make it Easy and Convenient for Patients to Pay Their Bills
The key to assuring patient payments at your healthcare organization is offering patients the option to pay how they want – whether it’s online, over the phone or via bank bill pay. This not only increases the chances of patients paying their bills, but fosters patient satisfaction by giving patients convenient payment options they prefer. When patients can make payments the way they want, they’re more likely to pay. Learn more about omnichannel payments.
Bonus: When it comes to payment assurance, where you keep your data is critical. Here’s why.
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