The ability of patients to pay their medical bills is declining due to rising out-of-pocket costs from high-deductible health insurance plans. Combine this with continuing reforms to the nation’s healthcare system, and it’s becoming more and more challenging to keep your practice readily profitable.
The experts at ML Medical Billing understand these challenges, which is why our sole focus is helping keep your practice running profitably and smoothly. Here are 5 recommendations on how you can save your practice money this year.
Set Up or Streamline Your Collections Procedure
Just as you spend your time and energy to ensure your patients’ vibrant health, so, too, does a clear collections process ensure the same for your practice. A little time and energy spent setting up or shoring up just these few steps will pay dividends in the long run:
- Set clear expectations for patients by letting them know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it when it comes to their payment obligations. Keep them apprised of updates or changes.
- Collect addresses, phone numbers, email, work information, photo ID, etc., on their first visit.
- Remind both patients and staff about co-pays so that the patient knows why it is important and that the staff is trained to handle issues and/or answer questions.
- Check insurance cards and patient eligibility with every visit to avoid claim denials.
- Collect payments, based on deductibles, now so as not to chase them later to avoid excess paperwork and labor hours.
- Notify patients of their payment options and clearly display them – credit cards, checks, cash, and payment plans (if available).
- Set up a collection letter/e-mail sequence so that patients know about payments soon to be due, those that are overdue, and those about to go to collections. Emails or letters in writing often have more psychological pull than voice messages do.
The claims cycle can take weeks when submission, rejection, editing, and resubmission are all taken into account. This is why claims with even small errors are rejected so easily, which means you don’t get paid quickly for your services.
That’s why it is so important that submitted claims be complete and accurate from the start. The most common sources of errors include:
- Incorrect patient information
- Inaccurate provider information
- Incorrect insurance information
- Duplicate or wrong billing
- Erroneous or incomplete documentation
- Missing EOB on denied claims
To minimize or even eliminate these issues, input the information correctly and double-check claims for possible errors before you submit them. After submitting, follow up with the insurance company and keep up-to-date on any errors that have been noticed.
When re-submitting a claim that has been denied, check the attached EOB in addition to other possible errors, including the ones above.
Minimize Coding Errors
Although standardized codes are intended to make claims easier to understand and process, errors like incorrect, mismatched, missing codes, upcoding, or undercoding still occur.
Check codes before submitting each claim, and take the time to contact the provider before assigning a code to a procedure that is ambiguous or unclear.
Handle Rejected or Denied Claims Quickly
A claim with errors like incorrect patient or insurance information that has been declined is a rejected claim. When the error is corrected, the claim can be resubmitted. On the other hand, a denied claim is one that has been processed, yet deemed unpayable by the insurance company due to a vital error such as a billing mistake or error in patient coverage.
A rejected claim can easily be corrected and resubmitted quickly, while a denied claim must go through the much more costly, time-consuming process of being appealed before being resubmitted.
Carefully submitting claims that are correct and error-free minimizes rejections and denials, but they should be done quickly and meticulously.
Don’t Overlook Credentialing
Credentialing is easy to overlook, particularly in a busy practice such as yours. However, it is important because it helps you be properly contracted for all payers throughout the country, including Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers.
It also helps when you have out of network denials because enrollment with these plans is quick and easy. With proper techniques and software to keep up with applications, effective dates, and address changes in an ever-changing web-based industry, proper credentialing saves you time and money as well as helps your practice run more efficiently and profitably.
The ML Medical Billing Difference
Billing is an integral part of your practice’s success. However, we know that your focus should be on providing top-quality patient care. Which is why, since 1985, ML Medical Billing has been an invaluable resource in helping medical practices like yours avoid common billing errors, or correcting them when made. When you partner with us, you’ll have access to:
- Specialists with experience
- Dedicated collection and claims processing
- Updated knowledge of ever-evolving healthcare practices
- Committed credentialing
- Fast and accurate submissions
- Industry expertise
All of these and more are designed for you to get paid more quickly and easily and so you can have greater focus on providing patient care.
Contact ML Medical Billing to Find Out More
When you partner with us, our focus on keeping your practice profitable and growing allows you to continue putting patients and their care first. To know more how to save money for your practice, contact our team of specialists today.