The risks associated with self-pay patient accounts are many. The hard dollar cost to collect is up to three times higher than commercial insurance accounts while as the account ages a self-pay balance goes unpaid, lowering the likelihood of collection.These issues are here to stay because of more high-deductible, consumer-driven healthcare cost sharing insurance plans. It’s now common to treat patients with annual deductibles anywhere up to $2,000.
The Self-pay Patient Impacts AR.
When patients can’t pay, your accounts receivables (AR) days go up, cash flow slows down, and bad debt mounts. The impact of self-pay is one more burden for providers already struggling to reduce costs and increase revenue. Increasing efforts to collect past due medical debts on the back end is certainly necessary. However, addressing it up front not only helps reduce AR days by collecting payment sooner rather than later, it also helps prevent bigger, more serious revenue cycle problems.
It is important to recognize that taking on more financial responsibility for medical expenses is new to many people. At the same time, patients are becoming savvier healthcare consumers and expectations of service are changing.
How to Improve Self-pay Collections by Steven lash San Diego
- Engage patients early in the revenue cycle. Your scheduling staff should clearly communicate to patients what their anticipated financial obligations will be and collect any co-pays, deductibles and past due self pay balances at the time of scheduling. Your staff can assess patients’ ability to pay and develop payment plans that allow them to pay their balances over time. Answering questions and counseling patients on their payment options are good ways to ease patients’ anxiety and increase their likelihood to pay. Most EMR systems as well as commercially available systems can provide this information for your staff.
- If the burden of collecting self pay balances there are several competent “early out” vendors who can step in and deliver self pay collection for you allowing the provider AR team to focus on commercial accounts.
- Provide payment processing at every point of service in your facility for patients’ convenience. Improving collections at the point of service includes providing scripts designed to assist your team to ask for the payment.
- Many people prefer paying bills online, and medical bills should be no different. Provide the patients the ability to have online access to their accounts so they can see what their insurance has covered, verify recurring payments and make payments anytime and anywhere.
- Finally set up an efficient process for follow-up phone calls for managing patient questions and complaints.
By establishing an upfront proactive approach to self-pay balances will pay significant dividends and help cash acceleration to support a robust bank account and lower days in AR and more info you can visit here Steven lash San Diego.