Patient Deductibles & How to Handle Them
PATIENT COLLECTIONS ARE MUCH MORE THAN COLLECTING $10 COPAY’S: THOSE DAYS ARE LONG GONE. PATIENTS ARE PAYING A GREATER PERCENTAGE OF WHAT YOU GET PAID AND WILL BE PAYING AN EVER-HIGHER PERCENTAGE IN THE YEARS TO COME. SMART AND CONSISTENT PATIENT COLLECTIONS TACTICS MUST BE A PART OF EVERY PRACTICE’S FINANCIAL STRATEGY.
❖ Educate your patients: Most patients don’t understand- Include your payment policies (e.g.,
copays are required at the time of service) in your new patient paperwork to help patients understand
their financial responsibility. Consider including a glossary of health insurance terms (copay, coinsurance,
deductible, provider network) in your orientation packet. This will keep your patients well
informed and allow them a better understanding of how insurance works.
❖ Communicate: When a new patient with insurance makes an appointment always state, “Payment is
due at the time of service, unless you bring your current insurance card, in which case only the copayment
and deductible amount will be due.”
❖ Be Proactive: Know in advance what your patients will owe: Check coverage prior to patient’s
arrival. If you assign a staff member to check their coverage upfront you will be able to collect the
allowed amount upon their arrival. This not only keeps the patient informed of their costs, but also keep
balances from going to patient collections.
❖ Collect: Collect upfront costs at time of service. If the patient has a high deductible, train your staff to
take note of this and inform the patient upon arrival. (e.g.- “Mrs. Jones we will bill your insurance for
today’s service. Please be aware it looks like you have a high deductible plan so your insurance may not
cover today’s service at 100%. We will collect $57 today based on your insurance coverage details.”)
❖ Enforce: Be sure you have a payment policy set in place for your office. Most patients are not able to
pay their balances from high deductibles up front. By having a payment policy in place, your staff will
be able to offer reasonable payment arrangements to your patients
~IF THE PATIENT SAYS THAT HE/SHE CANNOT PAY, YOU MAY NEED TO NEGOTIATE.
~ALWAYS START HIGHER THAN YOU EXPECT
~ESTABLISH EXACT AMOUNTS AND TIME FRAME FOR PAYMENTS TO BE MADE
~DON’T ACCEPT “AS SOON AS I CAN”
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