Communicate Early to Minimize Delayed Payments
“You’ve made a mistake, I shouldn’t owe this much. I’ve never owed anything except my copay before.”
Sound familiar? If you’re a healthcare provider, you’ve probably heard patients say something along this line too often lately. With all the changes healthcare reform and the ACA have brought about, insurers across the US are altering their coverage and reimbursement models, often resulting in low premiums, higher deductibles, increased copays, and more. Many times, they’re doing so without adequately informing their customers of the increased patient costs delivered to them as a result.
Additionally, many patients find themselves in situations where the remaining balances of certain bills not fully covered by primary insurance were to be paid by their subsidiary plan but were not for a number of reasons.
When those patients receive their bills from you, they automatically think (and will be hard pressed to reconsider) that you’ve made a billing error. And in the competitive climate you and other providers are now operating in, it’s becoming ever more apparent that there’s simply no room for dissatisfied patients.
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog series, Putting the Patient at the Center of Your Self Pay Strategy, providers must now go to great lengths to ensure a positive patient experience, from the time of check-in to the receipt of their final bill. Communicating early and as often as necessary with patients to ensure that they understand their care and the financial realities associated with it will inform the patient, help to ensure a positive experience and solidify your relationship with them.
Simply put, it’s much easier to communicate the specifics about patient charges upfront than it is to explain unforeseen charges to a disgruntled patient after the fact.
So, communicate early and communicate often with those in your care. Because the last thing you ever want to hear from a patient is, “I’m never coming back here for treatment.”