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Expert Strategies for Providers to Collect Outstanding Patient Balances

October 25, 2017 | 10:32 am
Published by | Krunal Popat

One of the most difficult tasks for physicians when it comes to their cash flow is collecting from patients who have not paid their bill. The time, effort, and energy it takes to get what is owed may be beyond the capacity of the office staff who have their hands full with other matters. This is where a medical billing service provider can help because they have the expertise and staff to handle those who have not paid.

However, whether you have professional medical billing services or not, here are a few tips from the experts to help you collect from your patients.

Eligibility : Before the patient visits your office, be sure that they have health coverage or payment plan. A patient with no coverage and no way to pay should not be allowed general services or asked for some type of payment up front to cover the costs. Otherwise, the chances of collecting from that patient are slim.

Reminders : Whether covered or not, all patients should be reminded of any charges they will have to pay from office fees to co-pays. The staff will need to be thorough in the different policies that apply to all patients and check their accounts to see if there are any past-due balances. A quick reminder both before and after the visit can catch many patients who otherwise might forget.

Increase Financial Options : The more options you provide, the more likely people will pay for your services. Some of the ways that patients can pay include the following;

  • Credit or Debit Card
  • PayPal
  • Check
  • EMI
  • Mobile Apps, Patient Portals, and Other Options

It pays to keep as many payment options open as possible so you increase the likelihood that the patient will pay their bill on time.

Keep Credit Card Information : This is one of the simplest ways to avoid late payment issues assuming the PCI guidelines allow it. By keeping a valid credit card number, you can charge for co-pays when they are not paid on-time by the patient.

Collect Charges before Next Appointment : This will require having the software necessary to check past-due bills to see if anything is owed before the next appointment is made. At this point, a bill can be sent to the patient so they can pay before having their next scheduled visit.

Keep Collecting Internal : The more you can do the work yourself instead of going to a third-party collection agency, the more money you will get for your efforts. Once it is turned over to a collection agency, you will receive compensation, but still at a fraction of the amount for the debt that is owed.

The better you practice your collecting efforts before the patient is late with their bill, the more likely you will get the money on-time thanks to using proven medical billing services tactics. Of course, you can benefit from hiring a reputable medical billing service provider who can take care of many of these issues for you.