There’s no doubt that patient medical billing is vital to revenue cycle management in the healthcare industry. Though most healthcare organizations can agree that patient billing and payment are critical to their financial success, there are major hurdles to engage and activate patients to pay their balances. Want to have a positive impact on your organization’s revenue cycle? By addressing these top A/R challenges, you can help your healthcare organization get ahead of the billing game.
- Pricing Confusion
Patients often find medical bills confusing, especially if they receive a bill several weeks after their visit. Three in four patients don’t know the cost of healthcare services until the bill arrives. And, it can be difficult to connect with patients after their appointment, making it difficult to collect any overdue balance. Ninety-four percent of Americans say it’s important for healthcare professionals to provide them with an easy way to understand their medical bill, yet more than a third of providers (36%) never discuss patient financial responsibility. Lack of clear communication or explanation in these situations can prevent action from patients who would otherwise be able and motivated to pay.
Communicating the amount that is covered by insurance and the amount the patient owes before the appointment creates pricing transparency and helps reduce confusion when the bill arrives. Rather than waiting until the collection stage of the revenue cycle, use automated pre-appointment messaging to give patients advance notice of any costs that health insurance may not cover so they have a better idea of what to expect to pay out of pocket. Discussing costs and payment options early in the process can help reduce delayed payments by giving patients time to plan for expenses.
- Forgetful Patients
Thirty-six percent of patients say it’s difficult to remember to pay their bills on time, and the impact of uncollected patient payments is staggering. Giving patients a gentle nudge when payments are due can make a huge difference. One low-cost solution is for healthcare organizations to take advantage of their existing automated appointment reminder technology and use it to prompt patients to pay outstanding bills. Although many providers already have patient communication technology in place, less than half (41%) are using these tools to prompt patients to pay bills.
The best window of opportunity to drive payments with a reminder is within the first 30 days. Highly personalized automated campaigns, like payment reminder phone calls, texts and emails, help drive patients to pay their bills. Using technology-enabled communications to automate payment reminders is simple, convenient and effective. Best of all, by automating the process, organizations can free up valuable staff time.
- Payment Convenience
Mailing statements is expensive—as much as $10 per statement—and often ineffective, especially for past due accounts. Finding a cost-effective way to make it easier and more convenient for patients to pay is key. Automated patient payment reminders drive higher account resolution rates for only pennies per notification. This method allows for the use of more popular channels such as voice calls, text messages and emails, so you can achieve even higher engagement rates by communicating to your patients in their preferred channels. Payment information and reminders can also be sent prior to appointments and strategically delivered in stages after the statement is mailed, such as when the due date is approaching and immediately after a due date is missed. These automated communications should have a concise call to action that offers patients an immediate way to resolve their balance.
Convenience is king in billing outreach, and automated communications make it easy for patients to resolve their accounts. Whether you want to transfer patients directly to staff, provide a call-back number, or offer automated IVR payment options, patient payment reminders can drive payments with an outbound phone call, text message or email. The key is making the payment process simple and easy-to-use for patients by allowing them to push a button on their phone or click on a link from a text or email to make a payment.
The core of any healthcare organization’s focus should be maintaining its patients’ well-being, but it’s still a business. Therefore, practices need to adopt strategies that proactively address patient payment challenges. Click here to learn more about solving revenue cycle issues and increasing patient payment collections with automated outbound communications.