Everyone has heard the age old phrase "time is money." Welcome back to Secure Bill Pay's video blog, where we'll look at efficient, electronic payment systems that save time and generate money.
As of October 1, the first health insurance exchange enrollments will commence and that should mean less uninsured. A good thing, right? Well, be prepared for the burden it will place upon your Revenue Cycle team.
On a recent list serve, a hospital billing manager indicated, “We were a little surprised that when we took the time to train our Customer Service reps (as opposed to Collections staff) to ask patients if they wanted to pay their bill by credit card or eCheck, Customer Service became one of our highest volume sources for self-pay payments.” Are you missing out on an important revenue stream? Is your staff trained how to professionally take patient payments?Where do you have capability to accept patient payments?
Sticker shock at the gas pump, grocery store, or ticket line leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth. But paying too much for healthcare can seriously affect a consumers overall financial health. Although transparency in health care has been an ongoing struggle, consumers deserve to know the quality and cost of the products and services they are buying… That includes healthcare. The quest for superior care at a good price starts with transparency and can end with a satisfied and informed patient paying their balance.
Take a quick walk through your business office and you’ll see a hub of activity and perhaps a lot of paper. Medicare, Medicaid and insurance payments have been automated for many years via the ANSII 835. However, patient payment is on the rise and thus, so is manual labor to post those payments.
Patients Want to Know What Procedures will Cost
Make it easy for them to find out and then pay you.
It is well-known that health care consumers (patients) have become much more informed when making their health care decisions. And some states are better than others at providing the necessary information for patients to make informed choices. One of the leaders in providing transparent health care information is Massachusetts. The Mass Insight Survey Research Group conducts an annual survey of MA residents. Since 2004, they have tracked how much of a cost burden residents feel from premiums, co-pays, prescription drugs, and deductibles. The data released on May 6, 2013 is eye opening:
Since 1986, Mercer (global leader of HR and related financial advice) has been formally surveying employers of all sizes regarding employee benefits. The latest survey results should have healthcare providers shaking in their boots.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is developing best practices for all staff interaction with patients regarding financial matters. HFMA offers specific, actionable ideas for time-of-service inside and outside the Emergency Department, interactions prior to service and general best practices (shown below). All of these ideas can have a profound impact on your revenue cycle management. Ensuring you have the tools in place to support patient pay and using these best practices will have a positive impact to your patient A/R.
A recent study by TransUnion Healthcare has shown that the quality of care a patient receives involves more than just the physical care they recieve and getting well. The study found the ease of the billing and patient payment process can affect a patient's health outcome. This is in part because negative billing and payment experiences kept patients away from follow-up appointments, cancer screenings and other wellness health visits. More than 60 percent of the respondents in the study indicated that quality billing practices, convenient payment options, and cost information given at the point-of-service would encourage them to seek more non-critical health care.