Regardless of your opinion of the Affordable Care Act, it has had a few undeniable effects on healthcare: more patients have insurance and more patients have higher out-of-pocket costs on that insurance than they used to. The days of $10 and $15 co-pays are long gone. In a primary care office, the patient responsibility is usually 20-35% of the overall payment and in a specialist's office it can be higher than 50%!
That means if you are still collecting patient money like you used to, or if you are not focusing on collecting patient money, you are leaving A LOT of money on the table.
Enhancing the Old Way
The "old way" of collecting money is by sending a patient statement after the patient visit. And let's be honest, the old way is never going away. But there are ways to make it much more effective. When I talk to clients who do their own billing and ask how often they send statements, the answer is usually either, "...crickets chirping..." or "when I have time." In our billing service, we have statements going out every week. And no, I do not have someone dedicated to printing, folding, stuffing, sealing, and stamping. I have BillFlash and I will never give it up; you will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands!
Why do I love BillFlash? Because regardless of the number of statements I am sending, after Medisoft generates them, I am done with them in less than five minutes. I can have 400 statements out the door in five minutes! That allows us to send them more frequently - and studies have shown the most effective way to get paid after the services have been rendered is to bill them right away, not when you "have time" months later.
When I turn on options in Medisoft for Cycle Billing and limiting statements by Submission Count, now I can send statements every week without having the ones I sent last week going out again today, and without having to worry about sending the same statements 18 times. Send it three times, if tey haven't paid by then you're going to have to write it off or turn it over to collections.
Taking Advantage of the New Way
Recent estimates have shown that 52% of people would rather get their bills electronically and pay them online. However, that is not an option most medical practices have typically offered. With BillFlash, it's easy: just store your patient's email address in demographics and upload a patient list to BillFlash. Then, any patient with an email address will receive their statement that way. If you turn on online bill payments, they can even pay online!
That's right: even if you strictly send paper statements through BillFlash, they offer Merchant Processing Services at incredible rates. BillFlash places a link on a paper statement, the patient can pay you online, and you can import that payment into Medisoft. We have seen great results with this, particularly with larger balances and, of course, with younger patients.
Looking to the Future - Make It Automatic
I don't know about you, but I have all of my utilities set up to auto-pay - it's one less thing for me to worry about remembering. With the newest feature in BillFlash, you can set your patients up for auto-pay. It stores their credit card information and whenever you upload a statement for them, it runs the payment automatically and sends the patient a paid statement. Now you don't even have to worry about whether they will remember to pay you or not - it happens automatically.
This turned out a lot more sales-pitchy than I intended, but that's mainly because BillFlash is one of the best tolls in my toolkit. I can't understand why more people don't take advantage of it; it simplifies so much! Try it for one month; the practice will bring in more patient money and you will never understand how you lived without it!