Patient Payment Collection Tools That Can Maximize Reimbursements
Why Aren’t Patients Making Their Payments?
With today’s technology capable of sending patients reminders over email, text, and more, it can be difficult to suspend disbelief that a patient is unaware of their outstanding balance. While 16% of patients have admitted to simply forgetting about their balance within six months of their treatment, this is not the only reason your practice might be battling with collections. In fact, the most common reason a patient will neglect a bill is actually that they don’t understand how much they owe after insurance has processed the claim, followed by a lack of accessible payment methods.
Keeping these patient pain points in mind, let’s take a closer look at 7 different tools and best practices that therapists can employ for improved reimbursement experiences.
- Good Faith Estimate
- Payment plans
- Patient payment agreements
- Patient reminders and notifications
- Patient portals
- Outsourced billing services and automated RCM
Be Upfront with a Good Faith Estimate
With patient self-service tools handling a massive chunk of patient appointment requests, it’s likely that the patients that opt to call an office to set up an appointment have questions that can’t be easily answered on your website. A popular request your front office staff may face during these interactions is an estimate of the cost of services.
By equipping your office personnel with an accurate good faith estimator, you can empower providers, billers, or front office staff with the tools they need to offer your patients complete pricing transparency even before the appointment is scheduled. While this may deter some that are not prepared for the number, 63% of patients who receive a cost estimate move forward with their appointment, indicating that the lack of transparency and fear of a surprise bill is a larger deterrent than the amount itself.
What’s more, proactively providing cost estimates can also serve as an opportunity to promote an automatic payment plan, breaking down daunting bills into manageable pieces and improving patient experiences.
Tackle Balances with an Automatic Payment Plan
For patients that are unable to pay the full balance upfront, a patient-centered payment plan is a high-value feature to have on hand! By offering automated, personalized options, patients can set up an agreed-upon amount to be deducted from their provided payment method at scheduled intervals, keeping your revenue stream consistent while also preventing your patients’ outstanding balances from having to go to a third-party collection service.
Beyond optimizing your practice’s own revenue, this feature has the added benefits of making healthcare more affordable and accessible to those who need treatments as well as taking a huge burden off of the front office staff that have to dedicate time and energy toward chasing down payments.
Establish a Patient Payment Agreement
As part of your therapy and rehab organization’s goal to provide cost transparency, you should also utilize a patient payment agreement as means of educating patients about their payment responsibilities such as maximum out-of-pocket information, required payment amounts, or even any discounts that might be applied. By keeping this documentation on file, your practice can easily modify patient agreements according to what insurance is verified, not only equipping patients with the knowledge of their financial responsibilities but promoting timely payments as well.
Optimize Payments Through E-Statements
85% of patients prefer virtual payment methods over paper bills, yet 75% of providers still use paper bills as their primary way of collecting payments. With this wide disconnect, it’s no wonder that healthcare organizations are having trouble collecting payments! Thankfully, the solution is simple: therapy and rehab providers need to bridge the gap by offering patients convenient, digital forms of payment.
With the average millennial checking their phone over 150 times a day, the odds that an email or text message will be seen over a letter in the mail are significant! By leveraging electronic statements, or E-Statements, Raintree’s automatic batch billing processes can send patients an email or text that contains a copy of their bill with interactive links that lead to virtual payment methods, resulting in improved collection rates as well as supporting patient engagement via preferred channels of communication.
Are There Any Strategies That Can Help with Patient Collections?
A great toolset can transform your payment collection process, but when coupled with rock-solid strategies, your therapy and rehab practice can experience the full benefits of timely and consistent streams of revenue!
Reminders as a Form of Patient Engagement
Sending reminders through email, text messaging, phone calls, or even snail mail is a great way to gently nudge patients with outstanding balances to look at the payment options that your therapy and rehab organization offers. When you pick software that utilizes automated patient engagement with triggers and patient groups, this technique is a breeze to implement with no additional workload on your office personnel!
Patient Portals and Getting Paid
Going paperless is one of the most powerful, sustainable strategies your practice can depend on. With the unpredictable delays that a postal service can bring coupled with poor mail checking habits and inaccurate addresses, many providers that still use paper bills as their primary method of collecting payment often wait for 30 days or more for a patient to actually make a dent in their outstanding balance.
With an accessible patient portal on your website or in your digital arsenal, you can offer patients a speedier, more convenient way to make timely payments. Not to mention the other massive benefits a patient portal can bring your organization, such as secure channels of communication, self-scheduling capabilities, patient access to medical records, and much more!
Outsource and/or Automate Your RCM
The most effective strategy your practice can put to good use is outsourcing your revenue cycle management (RCM) to a trusted, top vendor. Without automated billing tools that seamlessly integrate into your existing practice management software, outsourcing your RCM can help your practice manage patient balances, simplify patient collections, optimize workflows, and streamline revenue.
Raintree = Faster Collections and More Personal Patient Payment Experiences
From patients not understanding their balance or feeling overwhelmed by the cost of their care to the lack of efficient process automation in place, the reasons that reimbursements may be delayed are numerous. Fortunately, Raintree provides plenty of patient payment collection tools that you can implement to improve your payment collection process as well as streamline revenue. Click here to read part 1 of this reimbursement series!
With our interoperable RCM and billing tools, Raintree offers a tailored experience for therapy and rehab practices looking to efficiently manage finances without sacrificing daily workflows and operations. Don’t hesitate to reach out – contact us today to schedule a discovery call with one of our experts!