Everything You Need To Know About Payment Plans
Health insurance premiums are continuing to grow at an average annual rate of 7.1 percent. As a result, employers are making the switch to lower-cost, high-deductible health plans. This trend has ended in an overall decrease in payor payments and a consequent increase in patient payments.
Billing services and their clients are becoming more dependent on their patients for revenue. Many billing services have begun using patient-centered strategies to collect more from patients, such as offering payment plans. However, it is the responsibility of the billing service to ensure that they have implemented the best payment practices if they wish to improve results and increase efficiency for their clients.
Payment plans are a growing trend. Data from 2011 Trends in Healthcare Payments report proves that the use of payment plans for healthcare payments has doubled within the past decade. Based on that same report, 63% of patients who were surveyed said that they would utilize payment plans for their healthcare bills if they were given the option. Here is a list of practices for successful payment plans.
Several billing services support payments plans manually by keeping track of a calendar that shows when each payment is owed and by calling patients to collect every month. While this method is a step in the right direction, it adds to the billing service’s workload. Moreover, this method does not ensure payments for the client and comes with security flaws. Whether said payment plan is set up while the patient is present in the office or after a statement is sent, billing services and their clients need to securely collect and store payment information so they can automatically collect payments on their due date.
Even when patients automate monthly payments, he or she may still forget about the payment until it shows up on their next statement. This is sure to create confusion for patients, and in some instances, anger. Additionally, this will create costly chargebacks. Improve communication and offer transparency for each payment by automating email notifications to patients prior to each payment transaction. The most effective way to go about this is to provide clients with a one-page FAQ for patients that goes into detail about how payment plans work, including payment timing, notifications, and payment card security.
Tailor Payment Plans to Patient Needs
There are three main payment plans to offer patients:
- Installment: Collect payments against an outstanding balance and automatically deactivate the plan when the total balance is paid off.
- Recurring: Collect payments at a regular, ongoing interval as a subscription service.
- Save on File: Save a patient’s payment information on file to ensure that you collect the remaining amount owed when the claim is adjudicated. This is especially useful when the patient’s payment responsibility is unknown during the patient visit, such as when the patient has a high deductible.
Are you looking for an experienced behavioral health billing provider? Contact Threshold Billing Solutions. As your billing service provider, we’ll collect the needed information from insurance companies to move the billing process along.