With high-deductible insurance plans on the rise, patients are having an increasingly difficult time paying their medical bills. And, these mounting uncollected payments can put a serious strain on cash flow and wreak havoc on your practice.
Making it easy for a patient to pay their bill will always work in your best interest. Payment plans, patience, and online-payment portals will all, little by little, help your most financially strained patients pay for your services and feel safe in your care. That’s important, of course, not just because you’re running a business, but also because your patients’ health can be compromised by growing balances they can’t take on. You shouldn’t compromise your own business’s standing to accommodate a patient who’s having trouble paying their bill, but understanding the health risk of putting barriers up to their own care will help you craft a compassionate and successful collections plan. Most patients want to pay and want to be treated. Help them do both of those things.
Here are a few more reasons it’s important to make and maintain a good collections plan.
There are laws about this.
As tempting as it may be sometimes, cold-calling patients to request payment is tricky. In some states, it may not be legal; in others there may be restrictions and regulations about it. Knowing what your state’s laws dictate are essential for building a solid and fool-proof collections plan.
You’ll have more success getting paid.
A good plan—again, one built on compassion, patience, and understanding—is more likely to convince defaulted patients to pay their debt. Operate from the assumption that most people want to pay, but circumstances and hardship get in the way. A collections plan that acknowledges these truths and incorporates flexibility (and firmness) will ultimately have more success.
You’ll establish trust with your patients.
A payment plan or just a show of kindness will make your patients feel bonded to you. Help them pay their bill so that they can continue to access the care you give them. That’s good for business in the long term (and the short term).
Organization is key to getting paid.
Like with all things business, keeping track of income and outcome matters. So monitoring outstanding balances is crucial to keeping your business afloat. Now, if designing and implementing your own collections plan is too much for your staff, it might be worth bringing in a service to do it. There’s no shame in outsourcing important and urgent tasks, and collections is both urgent and important.
BONUS: TIPS FOR BUILDING A COLLECTION PLAN
- Design a patient-friendly invoice that explains, clearly, all of their charges and all of their options for payment. Make paying as easy as it can be.
- Categorize patients into groupings of delinquency. Some may routinely fall behind a month or two; some may fall behind six months; some may disappear altogether. Calibrating your efforts to each group will reserve energy and resources for the heavier-lift collections accounts.
- Follow up on invoices and be friendly when attempting to collect a debt. A little understanding goes a long way.
- Know when to hire a collections company. And hire one that understands the delicate balance required to collect from patients you’re still working with. Respect and consideration goes a long way.
Looking to outsource your collections? Capital Collections Management, an affiliate of BHG can turn your receivables into revenue—freeing you and your staff up to focus on excellent patient care. And their service is guaranteed. They only get paid if you get paid.
In the meantime, increased cash flow from BHG could set you on the right foot heading into the new year. Apply online in a matter of minutes for a working capital loan just for healthcare professionals—from the nation’s leading provider. Fast, easy, and completely hassle-free.