As daunting as that figure may seem, however, there are several operational best practices that can significantly improve medical billing collection rates. Here are the top three:
The most effective way to prevent these problems is to use a data-driven payment estimation process prior to the visit. A practice management system that links up with health insurance companies' data services can quickly process each patient's eligibility. Such a system can help project the costs upfront, based on the reason for the visit, but also in accordance with eligibility and benefits. Collections (e.g. co-payments and upfront costs) are subsequently more accurate at the time of the visit, and the likelihood that patients will be met with higher-out-of-pocket costs than expected is curbed.
At the time services are rendered, precise coding, including specific modifiers, can be factored into the final expense in real time. Live calculations are made to determine coverage and deductible standing so that there's greater transparency into the final cost of services for the patient. Likewise, this reduces the chances of lost revenue from accidental downcoding. The result: Accurate payments are more likely to be made at the time of the visit.
As deductibles rise, independent practices must do everything they can to make it as easy as possible for patients to quickly pay for services rendered. Collections don't just need to be accurate; they also need to be convenient.
An online patient portal also offers a great opportunity for patients to provide key information including insurance data, prior medical history, reason for visit and other details that are needed prior to an appointment to optimize care and cost estimations. Many patients may prefer this method of appointment scheduling. Others may prefer to have their questions about insurance and billing answered over online chat or email as opposed to having to wait on hold.
Last but not least, the same practice management solution you use to estimate payment amounts and facilitate online patient interactions should also give you the option to save payment information, such as credit cards, on file.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to process a payment at the time the service is rendered, you can create a payment program that charges the customer's debit or credit card. This type of payment feature simultaneously increases medical billing collection rates and gives customers one less thing to have to follow up on.