Now more than ever, providers need to make sure they are improving the way they send patient statements in order to maximize payments received. With the rise in high deductible insurance plans, patients have been even more hesitant to pay their portion of their medical bill.
For this reason, providers must improve how they are educating their patients of their responsibility by improving patient statements among other payment-attaining tools. By improving patient statements and educating patients on the next steps, providers will see an increase in on-time payments.
Patient Statement Tips:
With the amount of credit card offers and advertisements that patients receive in the mail, it is vitally important that you make it clear who you are on your statement. Many mistakenly throw away their paper patient statements with the assumption that it is junk-mail, never even opening the envelope. Now you may be wondering, “how should patient statements be mailed”, well we have some tips for you. First, your name and brand should be clearly visible on the envelope as well as the patient statement to ensure your patients do not accidentally throw it away. Next, using colorful text can draw your patient’s attention and help them see right off the bat that this is a medical bill.
While paper statements have been the habit of many providers for decades now, many patients expect more from their provider. The majority of bills are paid online, and their statements are located online accordingly. This includes their cable bill, their phone bill, even their electric bill statements have converted to a digital format. While it is understandable that medical providers would provide paper patient statements, they must offer alternative access as well. This includes access to patient statements via the patient portal. Research shows that digital access to information increases the level to which patients engage their medical care. This includes their medical bills. Providers should make patient statements available online while sending paper statements as a means of security.
3) Card Payment
Just as the majority of a patient’s every-day billing is paid online, those bills are often paid with a credit or debit card. Paper patient statements have historically offered credit card coupons at the bottom of their statement as an option, but this puts the patient’s banking information at risk. When the use of credit card coupons was at its peak, the patient’s information was as risk of being stolen in transit. Providers still need to offer a credit card payment option for their patient’s that is quick and accessible. This can be accomplished through payment integration via your patient portal. Patients can make card payments securely online if their provider is using the right software. This increases the number of on-time payments you receive even more. Your patient statement should list all available payment options.
4) Eliminate Confusion
Even when your patient receives their paper patient statement in the mail, they still avoid paying it due to a lack of understanding. Medical bills can often be confusing to understand for patients who are not familiar with them. The solution is to make it clear what portion of the bill the patient is responsible for. While it is still important to show what portion of the bill the insurance provider is taking on, providers should highlight the portion that the patient is responsible for. By eliminating any confusion around their responsibility toward the bill, difficult patient collections will decrease.
The key to decreasing difficult patient collections is to offer your patients every opportunity to become educated on their medical bill. By increasing transparency and accuracy to their patient statement and eliminating any confusion surrounding what amount they are responsible for, patients are more likely to make payments on time. But as the amount of their bill rises due to their HDHP, it is the responsibility of the provider to make sure their patients know their options. Educate your patients on any payment plans you have available, resources to make a payment, and what happens when they do not make an on-time payment. Educating your patient on their medical bill will offer them peace-of-mind as they face possible financial hardship caused by unexpected medical expenses.