How Your Self-Pay Patients Affect Your Bottom Line

How Your Self-Pay Patients Affect Your Bottom Line

An Early-Out Program Speeds Debt Recovery in Your Medical Practice

As more and more Americans receive medical coverage from high-deductible health plans (HDHP), their self-pay medical bill costs rise. One in five Americans with health insurance struggle to pay their medical bills; for the uninsured, 53 percent face difficulty or simply cannot pay.

In fact, in recent years, one in every three workers with a health insurance plan through their employers are enrolled in an HDHP; ten years earlier, it was just one in 20. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the price of these high deductibles also increased by about 12 percent. Today’s HDHPs come with deductibles worth several thousand dollars.

It all seems rather helpless. As deductibles rise and Americans continue to struggle paying for their medical care, patient accounts receivable (AR), which now make up about 10 percent of most providers’ total AR, has put a strain on hospitals, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

You Are Less Likely to Collect on Self-Pay Patient Accounts as the Balance Due Increases

After patients receive care in your hospital, they’re left with the remainder of charges their insurance companies do not cover. As the size of the bill rises, the rate of successful collections efforts decrease. For example, balances of more than $200 are only successfully collected by the hospital 6 percent of the time.

Patient accounts with balances above $200 make up 73 percent of all accounts, making these dollars a significant portion of your practice’s bottom line. You need this money to be able to continue to care for your patients and the community you serve.

Your Practice Team is Not as Effective as Necessary at Settling Patient Accounts

The work your practice team does to collect self-pay debt from patients costs three times the amount it does to accept payment from insurance providers. And as the patient account ages, the likelihood that you’ll ever recover the funds decreases significantly.

Without receiving payments from your patients, your cash flow slows, and you see shortfalls in your revenue. You know the story all too well.

If your practice team is struggling with self-pay patient management, or their time and energy are simply needed elsewhere in your practice, you may find yourself watching your revenue continue to drop, or begin taking drastic measures, like requiring your patients to pay their full balance upfront before receiving services. While addressing a medical bill balance upfront before a claim is ever filed with insurance can reduce your AR days, it isn’t very patient-friendly.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to relieve your staff of their responsibilities serving as bill collectors so they can focus their skills and knowledge where it really matters: patient care and daily operations.

Take a Proactive and Friendly Approach to Patient Billing: Early-Out Self Pay

The best way to target self-pay accounts and assist patients in fulfilling their medical bills is through adopting an early-out program by partnering with an extended business office (EBO), like Assistentcy. An early-out program is designed to help your patients understand their medical bills and navigate the process of filing an insurance claim and making payments in a timely manner.

An EBO acts on your behalf to recover self-pay patient accounts before they have a chance to become delinquent by employing friendly and customer-focused methods. For example, the EBO like Assistentcy communicates with your patients via mail and telephone to let them know they have a balance due for their medical care, and directing them to easy payment methods.

While on the phone, the self-pay debt recovery specialists at Assistentcy will ensure your patients’ insurance information is up-to-date and refile claims if necessary for additional reimbursement. They also can help patients set up comfortable payment plans and answer questions about medical bills as necessary.

Your patients will see the EBO you partner with as part of your practice; the goal is to make the patient experience as seamless as possible and build positive relationships with the people you care for every day.

Partner with Assistentcy, Your Extended Billing Office

Every medical practice needs and deserves its own customized early-out program; cookie-cutter programs are insufficient for optimal success. Assistentcy designs programs for each practice we work with; complies with all laws, including HIPAA; and saves your medical practice money over time. With Assistentcy, you’ll never have to pay out of pocket for printing, postage, or credit card fees.

We hold your patients in high esteem and remain transparent about medical billing processes and timelines. Our advanced knowledge of the medical billing industry assists patients with navigating health insurance issues.

To work with an EBO that cares about your patients as much as you do, contact Assistentcy.