Is the Best Electronic Healthcare Payment Solution the Payment Plan?
Healthcare practices today are beginning to look for new solutions to receive patient payments. As medical organizations struggle to keep cash flowing, it’s hard to find ways to address this problem. Practices are looking beyond the traditional to find new and better ways to receive payments. Moving away from the old cash, check, and paper invoice model, they’re moving toward the best electronic healthcare payment solution.
Web portals have become a popular choice among many practices today. Not only are these portals fully secure and HIPAA certified, but they are also user-friendly. These portals are convenient and allow a patient to make a payment via his or her preferred method. Patients can use their credit and debit cards or ACH payments. In addition, patients can access the portal at any hour of the night or day. In short, they can have greater ownership and management of their medical bill payments.
However, there is a more useful tool that practices are finding essential these days: the payment plan.
Payment plans are now becoming essential in most healthcare practices. The days of insurance companies paying for virtually all treatment costs are long gone. Instead, patients now have to pay larger proportions from their own pockets. This is proving expensive and difficult. When patients need costly procedures and have high deductibles, paying a huge balance is virtually impossible. While payment portals and IVR systems are useful, they can’t help patients who simply can’t pay the whole sum. This is where payment plans can prove vital.
Practices need to collect the cost of their billed services and guard against out-of-control past due accounts receivable. A payment plan is a good way to do this. However, some planning is necessary to make sure they are successful.
The first step to putting a payment plan policy in place is to analyze your billing. How much do you bill on average for particular treatments, lab tests, and office visits? It is essential to identify those amounts if you are going to have a successful payment plan policy. Knowing the average costs and the ways in which patients make payments helps you know which amounts will go past due.
The key is finding the point at which most patients struggle to pay their bills on time. Let’s say patients pay 80 percent of all bills under $80 in full and on time. However, only 57 percent of patients will pay bills between $80 and $100 on time. This means you can use your judgment and put payment plans in place for bills that are more than $80. Of course, these figures are for example only and you can change them to suit the needs of your patients.
The next step is to look at your patients’ demographics. Look at their average incomes and what their typical economic situations are. This will help you to determine the length of time over which to spread their payments. So imagine, for example, your patients’ average income comes in at around $53,000 per year. Should the average amount required for comfortable living come in at around $60,000, it’s clear patients will struggle to pay. With these figures at your disposal, it is easy to see your patients are probably already struggling financially. Adding an extra amount for them to pay every month will just increase the struggle. Load up the financial pressures too high and you may not receive any payments at all. The solution, therefore, is a longer payment plan.
The next step is to automate your payment plans using cutting-edge software. Programs that automatically deduct from a patient’s debit or credit card will make life easier for the patient. This benefits the practice as well. Then, you can control the payments yourself instead of having to depend on patients to make payments.
Adjusting Payment Plan Policies
Often practices fail to revisit policies after putting them in place. However, it is important to go back and revisit any policy from time to time. Adjustments are often necessary. There are often economic condition changes. Patient pricing can change. Insurance coverage can change. All these reasons mean you should perform annual policy reviews and adjustments.
Follow these steps, and your practice will be on its way to creating a policy for patient payment plans. When used in conjunction with the best electronic healthcare payment solution, patients and practices reap the benefits. Patients experience greater convenience and reduced financial worries and concerns. Meanwhile, practices receive more money to keep cash flowing and save staff time pursuing outstanding debts. Finding new solutions to healthcare’s ever-changing problems isn’t easy. However, with BillingTree’s systems, it is simpler than you would expect. When practices adopt the latest solutions, they can move forward in a position of financial strength.