The following is a guest blog post by Tom Furr, CEO and Founder of PatientPay.
Like most people after the holidays, I am swamped by the number of bills and charges that have accumulated over the past month! It certainly has been an expensive time of year. And like most I bite the bullet and remit payments and pay my bills on time. However there is a large segment of bills that aren’t getting paid, and it’s those that are owed to physicians and hospitals.
According to a report just released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, almost 43 million Americans have unpaid medical bills. The main cause for this is that many Americans are confused by the statements that they receive from their medical providers and insurance companies about the cost of treatment. Lack of transparency in their statements and understanding what they owe has put a lot of people in a tough situation.
Practices too are feeling the pain. Because of this issue they are writing off a significant amount of bad debt that through some easy fixes could translate into quicker payments and better cash flow. The average overdue debt that a patient owes is over $1,700 and the most baffling thing is that most of these patients show no signs of other financial stress. So what does this mean to for practices? Most patients who owe money have the means to pay but don’t, because of their lack of understanding about what they really owe.
Here are three easy fixes practices and hospitals can make to help patients pay their bills, and pay them faster.
1. Integrate bill payment into your Practice Management software. Practices today should have one place where they can go to get a full picture of a patient’s payment history and not have to switch between applications.
2. Simplify your statements. Make it easy for patients to understand what your charges are, what insurance has paid by providing a statement that matches up to the patient’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and most importantly what they still owe. With this information they are much more likely to remit payment quickly or start a conversation with you so that you can resolve any outstanding issues.
3. Ditch paper billing. It’s 2015 and according to the USPS more than 60% of Americans across all demographics are paying their bills online. Online bills get paid faster and you can create your online statements to match the EOBs. If the majority of patients want to pay their bills online…let them!
With deductibles now resetting, practices will be collecting a significant amount of their revenue directly from patients…on average for the first five months of the year. It’s time to help patients pay their bills and practices collect what they’re owed.
About Tom Furr
Tom Furr is the CEO and founder of PatientPay, an application that enables practices to use “Paperless Billing” instead of paper statements to help them reduce their costs and errors while making it easier for patients to pay their bills. You can reach Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.