There’s no point in denying it; your accounts receivable report will tell the truth. Receiving patient payments can be downright challenging. The reality is that there are many challenges to receiving patient payments, and while you can’t fix them all, there are certainly ways to make paying medical bills easier on your patients. Let’s take a look at the challenges to receiving payments as well as some of the solutions that can help your patients stay up to date.
Lack of Price Transparency
Typically, when we purchase an item or request a service, we do so with full knowledge beforehand of what the cost will be. Too often, though, patients have to make decisions about treatment and procedures without knowing ahead of time what their cost will be for that service. This results in massive sticker shock when the bill is received, often to the extent that the patient feels unable to pay the bill. The best way to combat this is to supply patients with a cost estimate before performing the procedure. It’s also a good idea to discuss payment options before the time of service, as well as collecting a small deposit and setting up a payment plan to ease the burden of a lump sum being due.
Inability to Afford Medical Bills
As we mentioned with regard to a lack of transparency, the cost of medical bills often results in sticker shock. This is because the price of medical services is often quite high, particularly for patients with high deductible insurance. For a lot of patients, these high medical costs will prevent the patients from seeking healthcare if they can help it, but there are times when seeking medical attention can’t be avoided and those are also the times when patients often can’t be as selective about the procedures they choose. These are the times when patients receive bills that overwhelm their financial capacity, and often feel powerless to do anything but put the bill aside, unable to pay.
While it’s obviously impossible to change a patient’s financial situation, practices can make paying those daunting bills a little easier by offering payment plans. While one large bill feels impossible, the ability to break it down into manageable chunks over time is likely to help patients feel more inclined to pay the bill and avoid any future collections headaches or financial difficulties with their provider.
Inconvenient Payment Methods
Today’s patients are consumers, accustomed to experiencing convenience in the majority of their interactions. There is little more inconvenient to today’s busy patients than receiving a bill in the mail with instructions to send a check, money order, or credit card information through the mail. Let’s face it, we’re all used to being able to buy and pay for goods and services conveniently, whether online or even by using our phone. When payments can’t be submitted conveniently, patients tend to put off paying that bill. In our busy society, putting something off can often mean forgetting it altogether. This leads to unpaid bills and frustrating accounts receivable reports.
The solution here is simple — provide your patients with a convenient way to pay their bills. You want to receive payment in a timely manner and your patients want to pay you in a convenient way. Accepting mobile payments, made directly from a patient’s phone which they have with them all the time anyway, will make both parties happy.
While there are certainly challenges to collecting patient payments, there are ways to get around these challenges, many of them simple policies to put in place within your practice around price transparency and patient payment plans. If you’re interested in providing a more convenient way for your patients to pay their bills, Henry Schein Solutions Hub can help with CueSquared MobilePay. CueSquared MobilePay augments existing self-pay collection strategies by transforming patient statement data, readily available in all practice management systems, into actionable SMS text-based statements. There are no applications to download and no portals to log into; your patients simply and securely receive text statements and make payments right from their phone.
Are you ready to collect more patient payments, more efficiently than ever before? Visit henryscheinsolutionshub.com or call 833-433-2482 for more information.