Guarantee your Patient Payment

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Traditionally, most healthcare offices bill insurance companies and balance bill patients for the difference in coverage (except where the provider is contracted to accept the insurance payment as payment in full).

From there, the office simply sends the bill to the patient, the patient pays and we all live happily ever after…right? WRONG!!!

A ‘long time ago and far away’ in a time when only one spouse needed to work to support the family, before credit cards and cable TV; when healthcare (insurance) was relatively inexpensive, your patients got the bill and paid it! Those days are long gone. In the current business climate the doctor bill routinely falls to the bottom of the pile of bills to be paid each month. In fact, among the list of the top 25 household bills to be paid each month the doctor bill is 24th -one notch above the lawyer’s bill and 14 places behind cable TV!

Many offices have their patients sign the financial policy stating their promise to pay. Ever notice how little that promise means for some when it comes time to pay? We’ve all heard the excuses; “my insurance was supposed to cover it, you people take care of it”, “I’m not happy with the service”; “it sounds like all you people are interested in is the money (in your case-yes!)”. The only real way to guarantee your payment is by having patients provide account information that can be used to balance bill. Otherwise, you’re operating like a bank offering nothing but unsecured loans! Scary!

Guarantee Patient payments -Try using ‘Easy Pay’

The only way to guarantee patient balances, co-pays and deductibles is by maintaining credit, debit or check information on file. Blockbuster Video does it, so why can’t your office implement the same policy? Think of your own experience; when you joined the video club (or Health club, or purchased the term life insurance, or bought the exercise bike) using your credit card and making easy monthly payments.  If you’re  like most of us, you probably never gave a second thought to the process…you gave your credit card number to the teenager at the video club or to the STRANGER OVER THE PHONE!

Educating your patients

Some of you might be thinking… “My patients will never go for this; they will be upset; I can’t even get them to give me their social security number! ; As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure if I’d do this and I work in a doctor’s office!”

Resistance is futile. We are living and working in an age driven by internet technology; racing towards a ‘paperless economy’.  Your patient’s health history and bank information will be read from the bio-metric scanner that sits where your credit card machine used to be!

Over the past 20 years I have worked with thousands of healthcare offices on improving collections while keeping patients happy; each office has its own unique challenge when it comes to re-educating patients on your new financial policy. Generally, I recommend that you make EASY PAY an option for existing patients that like to get a bill and pay the bill. For new and problem patients however, EASY PAY should be mandatory!

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