Getting Patients to Pay Their Bills

Making sure that the patients statements that you are sending out are clear and easy to understand can save you a lot of time and makes it much more likely patients will pay their bills. When you prepare patient statements you should take a look at them before they are mailed. Is it clear how much the patient owes, what they are being billed for and why? If not then you can expect a phone call. Phone calls from patients can be very disruptive during your daily work flow. Even if billing is your only job, stopping what you are doing to take a phone call from a patient to explain their bill can really wreak havoc on your daily work flow. Multiply that by 10 patients or even more and you might not get anything else done.

By making sure the patients’ statements are clear you can eliminate most of the phone calls from patients. There will always be a patient or two that will still have to call. They may have insurance information to give you or they may have made a payment that they don’t feel was recorded. But clear patient statements will eliminate phone calls from patients with basic questions and make it much more likely that they will pay. When a patient has a question about a bill it is easy to put off calling or paying.

For example, if a patient’s services were applied to their deductible, it should be clearly indicated on the bill. If it is indicated the patient will understand why they are being billed and assuming that they do have a deductible, will not have to call you for an explanation. Another example could be if the patient’s plan doesn’t cover a certain service. Say the patient purchased eye glasses but their policy doesn’t allow benefits for eye glasses. If the bill indicates “your plan does not allow benefits for eye glasses. These charges are your responsibility.” Then the patient will understand (hopefully! LOL) why they are being billed.

If they disagree then they can contact their insurance carrier. But as we all know they will probably call you first! In any case, the point is, having good, clear patient statements will drastically cut back (but not completely eliminate) phone calls from patients and increase the percentage of patients who pay their bills. A good test is to look at the statement and ask yourself, “if my mother got this statement in the mail would she be able to read and understand it?”

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