The Power of a Great Patient Payment System
People are opting for high deductible health plans (HDHP) these days for a few reasons, one of which is the low monthly premiums. However, those with HDHPs are also responsible for more out-of-pocket costs when seeking medical treatment.
The patients coming to you with these health plans are supposed to make their deductible payments directly to your office. But have you noticed how difficult it is to obtain their payments after sending multiple bills and invoices? Collecting from patients is hard, and chasing down payments takes time away from your clinical service and your staff’s practice management.
But there are solutions to this problem. This article discusses how important a first-rate patient payment system is to your practice, and there are tools available to streamline your collection process.
The Way Things Used To Be
In the past, doctors and their offices didn’t have interactions with patients over medical bills. Instead, physicians focused on their clinical work, and their staff billed insurance companies accordingly. If patients owed money, the insurance companies sent bills to collect.
This separation system between business and medicine was great for providers, but it relied on insurance companies charging high premiums and patients being okay with paying them.
The Way Things Are Now
Today, HDHPs are popular choices for people who don’t need to use their insurance very much for medical care, which is why the premiums are low, and the deductible payments are high.
However, now it’s medical office staff who have to bill patients directly, not insurance companies. This is a time-consuming and sometimes awkward position to be in, especially when patients don’t want to pay.
The way things are now doesn’t have to remain a financial headache. Consider setting your office up for more direct bill-paying methods.
Keep a Credit Card on File
By taking down a patient’s credit card information when they come in, your practice doesn’t have to worry about asking for payment in person, and it only takes a couple of extra minutes when checking in patients. That way, even if your practice doesn’t charge the patient immediately, you don’t need to hunt the person down to get their payment information later on.
Payment Responsibility Statement
A payment responsibility statement lets your patients know what they’re financially responsible for and when payments are due. Instead of verbally notifying the patient, the act of signing a document makes the payment feel more like a legal requirement. It also reminds patients that they need to make payments directly to the practice and not to their insurance provider.
Utilize a Management Services Organization
Healthcare modernizing goes beyond EMRs now. Your office needs to keep up with top-of-the-line cloud-based software, texting tools, financing choices, and patient portals — such as those that ClearGage can provide. Patients with HDPs will appreciate easy access to their statements and payment options, benefiting your office’s bottom-line and patient engagement.
Estimate Payments Before Medical Care
According to a Gallup study, almost a fifth of Americans didn’t visit a doctor in 2020 because they didn’t think they could afford it. Likewise, your patients may be hesitant to make appointments because of their uncertainty of the cost.
Your office can estimate treatment payments before care by using a patient’s health plan to calculate out-of-pocket costs. Estimates are also an excellent way for your office to offer payment plans. Payment estimates also give your staff confidence when addressing overdue invoices.
Estimates can be especially useful for more extensive procedures, such as surgery or chemotherapy. This information gives your patients a clearer idea of what to expect on their bill, allowing them to prepare accordingly.
Provide Contactless Online and Mobile Payment Options
It’s a waste of valuable time if a patient has to dig through their wallet only to realize they don’t have the right credit card on them. Also, patients could be in a rush to leave after their appointment. So, if your office is particularly busy at times, you could forget about collecting payment.
But your office can simplify or eliminate these issues with a few options:
- AutoPay: Your office can securely store digital payment information. A tool such as this makes it easier for patients to pay your office at the time of the appointment instead of later on.
- Patient Portal: Creating a portal for patients to log in, view their statements, and make payments.
- Interactive Voice Response: Patients can verbally access their billing information and approve payments via phone at any time and day.
- Text and Email: Your invoices can turn into payments when patients can easily access their statements with smartphones and tablets. Automated messages reduce the time your office staff uses to follow up on past-due bills and patient phone calls.
Online and mobile payment options provide your office with a significant advantage: no more waiting statement cycles to bill patients. Instead, your office can automate patient billing as soon as the insurance has adjudicated the claim.
Offer Financing Plans
Financing plans benefit both your office and your patients. Your office gets paid with systematic payments that your patients can afford.
Financing plans offer higher approvals and competitive rates, allowing your practice to keep existing patients and accept new ones. Furthermore, your office can use the online and mobile options to send applications and pre-qualify patients. Pre-qualified patients can take advantage of the six-month “same as cash” promotion, allowing your office to receive payment-in-full much faster than anticipated.
These days, many large hospital systems and private equity firms are absorbing private medical practices. However, your practice can remain clinically and financially strong in this environment when you employ a top-rated management services organization. TRIARQ Health is that organization and understands what your medical offices need to stay private and independent. Management services benefit both the clinical and business side of your practice.
Because TRIARQ Health appreciates and supports independent medical providers and their staff, they have integrated with ClearGage — freeing physicians just to be physicians and allowing office staff to run the medical practice efficiently.
More than 50% of patients today expect their healthcare digital experience to be more like retail. Your patients expect a more modern way to engage with your office and improve their bill-paying methods. They want easy access to their information, convenient ways to communicate, and fast, painless options to make payments.
Contact TRIARQ Health today to improve your office’s patient satisfaction and raise the bar on modernizing your medical practice.