High levels of deductibility and possible growth in self-paid patients make financial responsibility difficult for providers. Even during a pandemic, there are four ways to optimize collection. As healthcare costs continue to rise and the patients owe more and more for care, providers are finding that it is one of their most significant opportunities and challenges for collecting patient financial responsibility.
COVID-19 was a public health crisis without precedent, which affected all healthcare aspects, including the revenue cycle. As communities and their service providers devoted resources to fighting the infection, many companies were forced to lay off employees and even stop them. Providers feel the challenges of an economic emergency turned into a public health crisis.
The Commonwealth Fund recently reported that two in five working-age adults are not stable due to the pandemic, and over 1/3 are having health problems. Providers are concerned about insecurity coverage, and potential increases in the uninsured rate could make a recovery even more difficult from the COVID-19 responses. In the future, patients without stable coverage – or any coverage at all – may continue to avoid their providers. More self-paying patients may also already affect sinking if providers do not have adequate methods to collect financial responsibility for the patient during and after the pandemic.
Patient eligibility and coverage discovery
The verification of patient coverage and service eligibility is already a best practice for managing the revenue cycle. But in the increasingly fluid coverage environment, this step becomes even more critical. Insurance benefits should be verified before service or early after billing delays and should collect copaid benefits and coinsurance funds beforehand. However, providers still have some options if patients are not covered at the point of use. The solutions require the identification of valuable coverage sources for a patient account by hundreds of different payers. Identification of unknown coverage prevents patients from being a valid self-service account at a higher cost. It helps providers prevent lags in A/R from being insured even during the pre-service period.
Providers may criticize new CMS requirements for price transparency in hospitals, but health organizations can benefit from price transparency. The provision of cost estimates out of pocket can be precious for patients with high deductibles and new non-insured patients. The estimates set realistic expectations for the patient and patient financial experience in a productive conversation. Education is essential for a successful price transparency strategy, while insurance verification and technology are critical for calculating patients’ cost estimates. We try to educate our staff to fully understand coinsurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and all the costs of treatment plans.
Online and self-service options
According to a recent survey of more than 1000 individuals, half of the healthcare consumers are frustrated with the treatments and collection processes their provider has carried out, especially non-digital ones. The fact that patients do not pay for medical billed services is often due to the lack of digital paying options and other problems, such as unconsolidated medical facts and insufficient customer support, researchers have found. Forty-one percent said they would consider switching to another provider that offers an improved digital patient billing and collections experience. Patients are notified of a text, and they have to click one button, and it shows them what the bill is for, how much it is, and how they pay,” he explained. And when a provider logs a visit and enters the charging codes for services rendered, the text is generated. Other ways in which the providers can connect with their patients are websites and patient portals. These tools can also provide self-planning and television health services, as patients seek two capabilities during the pandemic.
If patients cannot pay for one payment financially, the payment plans are a good option for providers and their patients. The programs allow patients to space large medical charges over time, increasing their chances of paying on their terms and conditions. In recent years, a third-party patient financing vendor has been offered a health system payment plan. Either patient sign up for a registration payment plan, or income cycle workers send the vendor an aging account after two failed attempts to get in touch with the patient on their bill.
The plans helped to boost patient financial accountability before and during the pandemic in the health care system. Children anticipate, though, that the option will become even more critical to the strategy for health care collections.