Patient responsibility has always been a liability for providers. Unlike automated claims processing that submits electronic 837s to an established group of payers, the ability to collect on patient responsibility requires individual patient billing and often involves manual processing and time-intensive follow-up.
While the upfront dollar value of patient responsibility continues to increase across all plan types (HMO, PPO, POS, and HDHP) – now averaging $1,478 – the escalating adoption rate of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) means that a growing segment of the patient population is now responsible for greater payment amounts before insurance coverage begins. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 29% of covered workers are enrolled in an HDHP – up from 20% in 2014 – and the average HDHP deductible is $2,199.
As the financial liability shifts, the best way to reduce your exposure to uncompensated care is to expedite the collection of your patients’ responsibility—co-pay, co-insurance, and deductible.
Successfully collecting payment directly from the consumer rather than a payer may require a shift on the part of the provider: consider introducing a B2C payment processing model. Targeting patient payment processing solutions, both pre- and post-billing, this new B2C model should be patient-friendly and provide convenient and efficient automation with self-help payment options. The goal is to make it easy for patients to pay so you can collect patient payment as soon as possible.
Here are four steps you may want to consider.
1. Assist patients in making informed decisions.
Start by confirming your patient’s eligibility for the services to be rendered. While verifying your patient’s insurance and coverage, identify if there are any pre-claim requirements such as prior authorization and medical necessity documentation. Then calculate upfront your patient’s out-of-pocket cost, informing your patient of his/her responsibility. To learn more, visit Patient Access by Quadax.
2. Collect patient payment information.
Think B2C. In addition to obtaining correct patient demographic information, consider gathering credit card information. Remember, HDHPs shoulder patients with a greater upfront cost burden. To get paid, providers need to be able to collect payment directly from the patient.
3. Make it easy for patients to pay.
Begin by communicating to patients easy-to-understand charges. Then offer convenient, accurate, secure B2C payment processing options—in today’s world, consumers expect online. In addition, consider offering payment plan options for select services. Smaller, easy-to-pay installments can help patients meet their responsibility. To learn more, visit Patient Responsibility Made Easy.
4. Coach your patient-facing staff.
Your patient-facing staff excels at helping patients with their healthcare needs. Now, coach your staff on how to help patients manage their payment responsibility. With assistance from your staff, your patients will come to understand their HDHPs and will learn to anticipate and know their responsibility in paying for healthcare services.
Most providers are already collecting a patient’s co-pay and co-insurance at time of service. With HDHPs, this model needs to be expanded to address a patient’s total out-of-pocket cost as it relates to the patient’s unpaid deductible. Finding ways to expedite your patient payments can help optimize your revenue cycle and accelerate your revenue cash flow.