How to Ease the Sting of Patient Collections

Collecting overdue payment from patients is not easy. And if you’ve developed good doctor-patient relationships, it can be even more difficult, especially when unexpected charges or more-expensive-than-expected ones put them in a financial bind.

Yet, you must collect payment for medical services rendered to maintain your business and sustain growth. It’s not an unfair expectation that your experience, skill, and judgment be rewarded.

ML Medical Billing can help. We’ve been serving the medical industry by solving billing problems and providing billing services for more than three decades. We understand the delicate nature of patient collections – and we can make it less painful for you. Between our branches in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, we are able to serve clients across the country.

Just as you do for your patients.

Changes Are Afoot – Are You Keeping Up?

The landscape of medical insurance is rapidly evolving, particularly revenue and billing cycles. It’s a full-time (yet necessary) job just to keep up. If you have your own in-house billing department, responsibilities inevitably include collections.

The task of collections is no small matter. Guidelines for healthcare and insurance standard operating procedures are continually changing, which, many times, leads to complications that cost your staff time, resources, and energy due to patient confusion.

That’s why, in the last two decades, many practices have outsourced this part to a professional medical billing service.

Unexpected Bill Items or Charges

A recent Consumer Reports survey indicates that, for medical services received in the past two years, almost 1 in 4 Americans with private insurance have subsequently gotten a nasty surprise in one (or more) of the following ways:

  • Higher bill than expected
  • Less insurance coverage than thought
  • Fees from doctors whom they hadn’t expected to receive a bill

Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of their rights when one of these happens; if your staff is also not fully aware of patient rights, an already difficult issue becomes a massive headache.

Complicating matters even further is deductibles; not only must most of your patients meet a deductible but also nearly half the U.S. population under 65 has a minimum deductible of $1,200. For many patients, this is difficult to cover.

In short, patients bear the financial burden more than they used to, which makes collections more important than ever.

Effect on Your Practice

Medical Specialities Financial Planning FirmIf you’re not making efforts to recover monies owed, you’re cutting off a revenue source.

But it’s costly both in time and energy. Collections from patients you’re attached to must be handled delicately. You have a business to run even as you balance it with your altruistic inclinations.

Let’s take a look at a common situation:

A patient you treated believes that the bill has been taken care of. Days or weeks later, they learn that fees are still owed, maybe due to an unexpected cost or much-higher-than-expected costs. Or both.

Regardless of the exact issue, it’s now become a problem, and several possible things happen next, each bad news for your bottom line:

  • Some patients will pay with no fuss
  • Some will ignore it and not pay anything
  • Many will contact you to complain or get answers

While it would seem to be progress that a patient is contacting you to complain, it might actually be the opposite if the patient is upset enough. The patient relationship suffers, which leads to lost staff time and cost from time spent resolving the issue.

The issue of disregarding the bill and paying nothing is often a result of patient surprise or confusion. Many patients will think there’s an error or hope that insurance will eventually take care of it.

Resolving medical billing and collections issues like these can cost months worth of time and money.

Solution: ML Medical Billing

In several ways, a professional medical billing service that you trust and have a good relationship with is a proven solution:

One Fee for Everything

The technology necessary to run medical collections efficiently is not cheap. There’s equipment and software to be purchased and maintenance and troubleshooting to ensure smooth operations.

By outsourcing your medical billing and collections for one fee, you save both time and money.

Continuous and On-Boarding Training

Chasing down collections is time-consuming and if you assign collections to your already-taxed medical billing team, you could exhaust their energy and resources quickly and end up dealing with high turnover.

ML Medical Billing keeps your staff up to date and well-trained on software, patient etiquette, records, etc. Our professional staff members have an average of five years’ experience, so medical billing disputes are solved faster and more easily.

Office Space

You need space for staff computers, desks, chairs, files, records, and more that enable your team to do their job. By outsourcing to ML Medical Billing, those costs are already calculated into the fee – and at a sharply reduced rate.

Administrative Costs

With your own in-house medical billing and collections team, you must:

  • Pay a salary for each member of the team
  • Protect against theft or embezzlement (hundreds of billions of dollars are siphoned from small and medium-sized businesses each year)

Such costs and threats are reduced, if not virtually eliminated, with a partner like ML Medical Billing, backed by a three-decade track record and reputation.

Learn more about medical billing and debt collections at Wikipedia.org.

Feeling the Sting of Patient Collections? Contact ML Medical Billing for Solutions

Your focus is patient care. Our focus is to free up your time and resources so your business is more streamlined and profitable. If you’re always trying to track down money for services rendered, you’re stretching yourself thin. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of an experienced, professional medical billing service. Contact ML Medical Billing by calling (888) 719-7602 or by contacting us online to learn more.

Next, read Preparing Practices for for Future of Value-Based Care