Did you know that patients are more than twice as likely to pay their deductible, or remaining balance, if required to pay before they see the doctor than if they were billed after the appointment? One would assume that if given the choice, all practice managers would choose to receive 90% of payments owed rather than 40%. This stark discrepancy can be easily solved by altering the way you collect payments. By simplifying the manner in which you collect payment, the more payments you will receive.
Step one to simplifying payment is to clearly communicate to patients the payment expectations you hold them to. Communicating your requirements can be done by printing a patient financial policy to give to new patients and by posting it on your website. Explain it over the phone when patients call to make appointments. A suggestion for your financial policy is to have patients pay either before their appointment date or at the time of service. If patients know they need a zero balance to see their doctor, it will give them more of an incentive to pay.
Once patients understand your financial expectations of them, increase the number of ways they can make payments. Increasing the methods of payment doesn’t sound like simplification, but it makes things simple for the patient. The more options a patient has to pay their deductible or balance before they see the doctor, the more willing they will be to pay it. Inform patients of the forms of payment you accept, such as personal checks, cash and credit cards. Let patients know which cards you accept and possibly open up to accepting American Express and Discover – the cost of medical debt collection on non-payment far exceeds the cost of credit card fees. Let them know they can pay over the phone as well as by mail and in person. If your practice does not have an online bill payment option yet, do look into adding this option to your website or patient portal, as it is the easiest method for many patients. Studies have indicated that patients are more likely to pay their balances if given the opportunity to pay it electronically.This information is not to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Although we attempt to provide up-to-date information, laws and regulations often change. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of this document. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.