Patient billing can be a nightmare for some providers’ offices or medical billing services. It’s a pain in the butt to get the statements all prepared, stuff the envelopes, put on the postage, etc. only to find that many patients just ignore them. But there are things that you can do to increase the number of patients who pay their bills so that you don’t have as many to send out each month. The following tips will help to keep your patients’ receivables under control:
1. Send statements out regularly. When patients receive regular statements they know that the providers office is diligent in collecting amounts due and they are more likely to pay. If they receive statements sporadically they are less likely to take them seriously.
2. Check the statements over before mailing them. Make sure the statements are accurate. If the patient doesn’t think that the statement is correct, they most like won’t pay.
3. Put appropriate notes on the statements. For example, if you’ve already billed the patient for these services but didn’t get a response put a 2nd notice or a friendly reminder on the statements. Something like “Friendly Reminder! We’ve previously billed you for these charges with no response.” Or “Second Notice. We have not heard from you regarding your past due account.” Just something to let them know that you are paying attention.
4. Make sure statements are clear and easy to read. A confusing statement leaves a confused patient. A confused patient is less likely to pay their bill. The amount due should be clearly visible.
5. Indicate the reason the patient is being billed. If the bill clearly indicates what it’s for and why the patient owes it the patient is more likely to pay it. For example, if the patient has a deductible and the services were applied to that deductible, the bill should show that. Then the patient will know that their insurance processed the claim to their deductible and that they owe the provider. Whatever the patient is being billed for should be show clearly on the bill.
6. Include a return envelope. Patients are more likely to write out a check and stick it in the return envelope than they are to get an envelope, address it, stamp it, and mail it. You don’t have to put postage on it, just include the envelope so that they don’t have to get an envelope and address it. You don’t have to pay for expensive return envelopes. You could just get inexpensive white envelopes and stick an Avery label on it with the office address.
7. Collect patient responsibilities at the time of service whenever possible. If the patient has a set copay or patient responsibility it should be collected at the time of their visit. This prevents a statement from having to be sent. Patients are more willing to pay for services before they are seen by the provider. And patients with copays know that they are due at the time of service. Put a system in place at the front desk to collect patient responsibilities.
Patient billing doesn’t have to be such a hassle. Setting up an effective system for patient billing can improve the response, and keep patient receivables under control. It will also reduce the amount of write offs or uncollectable debts. Follow the 7 tips above and get your patient billing under control today.