Patient Payment Plans Maximize Your Revenue Cycle

Posted by Dawn Lunde on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 09:31 AM

Pre-authorizing patient credit and debit cards helps payment plans succeed.
Pre-authorizing patient credit and debit cards helps payment plans succeed.

Healthcare providers have a lot of unique challenges to contend with. With a highly regulated medical field, potentially complicated insurance formats, and capturing the revenue your facility is owed can be more difficult than in many other sectors of the economy.

While it's sometimes difficult or impossible for patients to pay their entire bill at the time care is provided, your facility is rightfully owed revenue and ultimately needs it to maintain continuity of operations and a healthy balance sheet. How can you make payment conditions more amenable to patients while also keeping a firm hand to capture those funds? An effective strategy for patient payment plans can bridge the gap and create a positive result for everyone involved.

How Patient Payment Plans Boost Revenue

"A/R can reduce significantly through patient payment plans."

When successfully implemented and the patients understand the benefits, pre-scheduled payment plans have the potential to significantly reduce accounts receivable and increase your facility's fiscal health. On average, our clients collect 18-20 percent of patient payment revenue when they include a payment plan option in their offerings to patients. However, not all payment plans are created equal.

A 2016 Navicure survey, "Healthcare Organizations + Patient Payments," found patients' inability to pay and slow speed in paying were two of the most common concerns facing providers. Despite that common issue, one of the most effective strategies for ensuring the capture of revenue, card-on-file payments, has a relatively low rate of adoption. Just 38 percent of facilities use this tactic to bring in the money owed to them.

Pre-authorized patient payment plans strike an effective balance between the limited available finances - a reality for many patients - and your facility's need to claim revenue for care it's provided. By extending the deadline for collecting the entire payment, you receive a strong commitment to pay the full amount in return.

Patients who can pay over time as opposed to settling their bill all at once find this option more realistic and less worrisome. Your staff will also see an improvement over past arrangements due to how these payment plans run on their own with no additional effort.

The difference between having a card-on-file and not doing so is clear. With a pre-authorized card securely stored via tokenization in your advanced payment solution, debits are made regularly and automatically. Little work is required on the part of staff. Without pre-authorization, your admins have to invest a significant amount of time and effort into tracking down patients on the phone and gathering payment details, month after month.

Pre-scheduled patient payment plans can capture as much as 20 percent of a facility's total A/R. With that kind of improvement from a relatively small change, there are plenty of reasons to ensure your facility's patient payment plans are as effective as possible.

Tags: patient payment plans, Revenue Cycle Management, Payment Processing

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