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Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Getting Your Patients to Pay

patient billingOne of the more sensitive subjects when it comes to any business is money. Revenue-per-patient, net profits, Cost of Goods Sold…your practice is your livelihood, and every penny makes a difference.

So why is it that when it comes time to bill patients, the tendency is to let things slide, be apologetic, or even negotiate fees down? You should never lower the prices for your services—you’re telling the patient that your services are not worth what you charge. Confusion and miscommunication about managed care, which services are covered, whether to bill medical versus vision insurance—all of these situations can create a balance the patient didn’t expect and doesn’t want to pay.

We’re not recommending that you send patients over 30 days past due to a collections agency—that’s not a great way to keep them coming in the door. But there are some safeguards you can put into place. Billing upfront, communicating clearly about your fees, and offering options like online payments are a few good options available.

The biggest key is communication. Set your payment policy and be clear about it. If you bill insurance for your patients, let them know that there may be a balance depending on their plan. Be transparent about the process. You can also suggest they call to verify their own benefits before their appointment, so they are already clear on what will be covered on their visit.

This way, when your patient is billed, there isn’t an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. If they’ve done their homework, they know there’s a bill coming. If they haven’t, that was their choice, but you did your due diligence by encouraging them to follow up with their insurance company.

If your patient is private pay, the same theory applies. Let them know the fees and charges to expect upfront, even if you do not bill them upfront.

Inevitably, there will still be patients that don’t pay. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. But if communication is clear and consistent and there are several options available for paying their balance, you’re A/R report will thank you. For more information on how Williams Group can help you get your collections in order, click here.  

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Holly graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in English. After several years of copywriting and editing for various publications and marketing companies, she joined the Williams Group Team in 2012. Her responsibilities include creating content for and maintaining the company's blog and social media presence, as well as assisting with the creation and revision of content for the company's website, collateral pieces and content marketing initiatives. In her spare time, Holly enjoys spending time with her two children, Colin and Annabel.

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