With patient healthcare responsibility being at an all-time high, most patients are experiencing some degree of financial difficulty during this time of the year. We understand that as providers, all you want to do is help people. We also understand that this may make it extremely hard to ask for payment from patients who say they don’t have the money. Unfortunately, you have no other choice but to collect or only see patients who are willing to pay. In this evolving healthcare industry, you are being forced to adapt. In the long run, the consequences of not adapting could be fatal to your practice.
1. Create a payment policy that is clearly written and easy to understand. Do NOT make exceptions to this policy.
- By setting a precedent to collect up front, patients will know exactly what is expected of them every time they come in for a visit. It is well known that in order to receive a service, you need to pay at the time the service is provided. The healthcare industry should be no different. In order for this policy to be effective in your office, it absolutely has to be enforced by your or your office staff. As soon as exceptions are made, the whole point of the policy is defeated.
- Ask us for a sample payment policy document and adjust it to fit your practice.
- Train your front desk staff on the proper way to ask patients for payment (ie: Do not ask “Do you plan on paying today?” Instead ask “How do you plan on paying for this today?”)
- Use appointment reminders as outstanding balance reminders. Inform patients of their balance and make it very clear that the balance will have to be paid PRIOR to the patient seeing the provider.
- Do not hesitate to ask a patient to reschedule their appointment if they do not have a means to pay or if they refuse to pay. Remember, your time is too valuable to offer services for free.
2. Give multiple payment options including: Venmo, Chase Quickpay, Check, Cash, Credit Cards, and the option to pay online at home (ask us about this service).
- Patients want to go digital- 65% want to be able to pay healthcare bills online according to the 8th annual instamed healthcare report.
- Using hard earned money to pay for bills is hard enough. Make it as easy as possible by allowing for a variety of payment options that will allow the process to be automated.
- Create a sign you can put up at the front desk listing all the methods of payments that are accepted. This will help eliminate the excuse of “forgetting their checkbook at home.” because you will have other methods of paying as an option.
- Find a credit card processing system that has an online portal that patients can log into at home to pay. BillFlash has this and we provide a url on every patient statement that gives patients the choice to pay at home online, it also allows us to set up digital payment plans.
- Stay up to date with the times and create a Venmo and Zelis (chase quickpay) account as another way to accept cash payments
3. Offer automatic patient payment options by keeping credit card information on file.
- It is a lot easier to collect from patients when the patient doesn’t have to physically hand over their credit card or money to the provider. Saying “yes, you may run my card on file.” Makes the whole process a lot easier.
- Sometimes, patients are truly unable to pay upfront for a service, yet are unable to wait until they have the full amount. This is when a payment plan would come into use. You can enforce the “payment due upfront policy” by accepting a portion of the payment upfront and putting their card on file to charge the remaining balance at a later date.
- You need to find a credit card processing system that allows for cards to be saved on file. We recommend BIllFlash to our providers as it communicates with our system to update patient balances when statements are sent out. They also allow for cards to be kept on file for automatic payment, approval only payment, and for setting up automatic payment plans.
- This is the easiest to implement! When patients say they cannot afford to pay the full balance upfront, you are able to provide them with a solution that will allow them to still receive services! If they aren’t grateful for this and refuse to keep their card on file, they were likely never going to pay anyways.
4. Consider offering a small discounted rate on a large outstanding balance if it is paid in full upfront.
- If you do not currently have a strict patient payment policy, this may mean that you have patients with extremely large balances. In order to move forward with the new policy, it may benefit to offer a slight discount for patients who are able to pay a large amount up front.
- This is another easy one. You simply offer this option to patients with a large balance. It shows the patients that you care enough to do your best to help them pay off their larger balances. Everyone loves a good deal.
At Priority Medical Billing Inc., our providers success is our success. This means we are always willing do everything in our power to help in increasing cash flow for every one of our providers. Are you feeling overwhelmed on how to begin implementing these practices? We are here to help! We offer step by step procedures to help our providers slowly begin to implement these new methods of collecting payment. We offer sample office policies, information on BillFlash, and sample scripts (that will help teach your front desk staff how to handle patients who are unwilling to pay). If you are one of our providers and would like to hear more, contact us for more information.
If you are not one of our providers, but are interested in becoming one, reach out to us at email@example.com to get more information!