The smaller the gap between when you render services and when you get paid, the better. With so many potential blockers in your revenue cycle, though, it can be a big challenge to keep things moving.
Between communicating with payers, working through denied claims, and managing the payments that patients are responsible for, it’s hard to get a clear idea of when each expected payment will come through. Not to mention, you must also pay attention to the way payment processes are evolving!
This is a big factor in the revenue cycle that far too many medical providers don’t consider. It’s not enough to stay on top of the claims you’re filing today; you need to start thinking about how changing patient pay trends will affect your A/R cycle tomorrow.
Here are 3 major shifts in patient payment trends you need to be aware of.
1. Patients in some cases are more scared of their bills than their diagnosis
It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s true. High-deductible health plans are increasing their rates, and the changes to deductibles, co-pays and coverage causes confusion for patients, along with an increase in patient financial responsibility.
Add the fact that 28.9 million Americans are uninsured, and it’s no surprise patients are becoming increasingly concerned about how to pay for services.
So, what can you do? Make payments more manageable for your patients.
Explore the option of in-house patient payment plans rather than leaving patients on their own to work things out with payers. This allows you to maintain a strong presence within the growing market of patients who are uninsured or have a high deductible. It gives patients who are concerned about their payments an easy way to manage what they owe and how they’re going to pay. Also consider making payment processes more accessible by establishing a new patient system that helps people understand their eligibility and benefits.
No matter what your job title is, adjusting to changes in patient financial responsibility is tied to your purpose as a medical provider. Contributing to the wellness of your patients means helping them navigate the financial responsibilities associated with their health.
2. Outsourcing medical billing is on the rise
The good news about helping patients understand their payment responsibilities is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Medical billing outsourcing is one of the smartest things you can do to ease patient payment concerns and better manage your revenue cycle.
The right platform can completely transform how you distribute invoices and process payments. It can give customer-facing personnel the extra few minutes in their day to talk through payments with patients, while also making each patient’s payment responsibility easier to understand.
3. Payment processing has advanced
As you’re looking into medical billing outsourcing possibilities, pay attention to the payment capabilities available. It’s not enough to simply offer cash or check payment options anymore.
Modern-day patients want a modern way to pay. They’re more likely to keep up with payments when they can easily access their medical bills through a credit and debit card-friendly portal. If you can save their payment information, offer automated payments or send out payment reminders, the results would be even better.
These responsibilities are simple to take on and implement on your end, and they make a world of a difference for your patients. They show your patients that you truly care about their experience and well-being, not just about how much you’re billing them and getting paid for.