iStock_000026570664_Small (2)As healthcare reimbursements continue to decrease and the responsibility of healthcare costs shift to patients, medical practices must properly manage and improve patient accounts receivable to keep cash flowing.

Many employers are moving away from traditional health insurance plans as employer insurance costs continue to rise. High deductible health plans (HDHP) offer lower premiums to employers in exchange for higher deductibles. In 2019, qualifying HDHPs have minimum deductibles of $1,50 for self-only coverage or $2,700 for family coverage and annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts–but not premiums) of $6,750 for self-only coverage or $13,500 for family coverage. Additionally, many plans offered through the healthcare exchanges established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are HDHPs.

Patient receivables have become a larger piece of a practice’s accounts receivable due to the popularity of HDHPs. Medical practices must develop a set of policies and procedures that will address all of the obstacles that typically prevent the practice from collecting patient receivables.

Improve Patient Accounts Receivable by Require Payment at Time of Service

A best practice is to require patient payments at the time of service. Historically, medical practices have been very reluctant to ask for patient payments before or at the time of service. However, studies show that patients are 90% more likely to pay for services before they see the provider. Train the front desk staff on a time of service checklist that includes the following:

  1. Confirm insurance coverage and identify the patient’s co-pay prior to patient arrival.
  2. Address financial responsibility policies with the patient at check-in.
  3. Verify that the patient’s address and insurance information are current.
  4. If applicable, ask for payment on any past due balances.
  5. Accept payments by credit card, cash, or check.

Improve Patient Accounts Receivable by Managing Past Due Accounts

Practices still need to manage past due patient accounts; however, with a focus on collecting payment at the time of service, past due accounts should decrease over time. Past due accounts should only be turned over to collections as a last resort.

Keep the Cash Flowing with CRI

CRI’s healthcare professionals can help your practice proactively manage and improve patient accounts receivable. We’ve developed best practices that help keep cash flowing.