Out of sight, out of mind. Applied to healthcare, this age-old saying is not only true, but also incredibly problematic for physician practices. All too frequently we hear from physicians the same story of providing care up-front, and subsequently facing a growing stack of un-paid deductibles, ultimately hurting the bottom line. No one is immune to this – not general practitioners, specialists, psychologists, nor dentists.
With the trend of increasing deductibles, there is only going to be more to collect. For 2014, the internal revenue service has defined high-deductible as $1250 for an individual and $2500 for a family. On top of that, maximum out-of-pocket expenditures are estimated at $6350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. That’s no small change; that’s real money when factoring in the number of patients you see.
Some practices may have an initial reaction of fear or a sense of alarm from these numbers however, these statistics should be the impetus to be proactive and put the right series of steps and technologies into place. Those steps include implementing a hybrid workflow model that starts with using an established eligibility checking system to identify a patient’s expected out-of-pocket costs prior to an appointment will significantly lessen the follow-up collections that are needed. However, when you do need to collect, make sure you are doing it smartly by leveraging the second piece of a hybrid workflow solution, an automated collection system to significantly increase the odds that you will collect more, and also collect it faster.
Recent highlights from the Pew Research Internet Project state that as of January 2014, 58% of adult Americans have a smartphone. Doesn’t it make sense then that you should have an automated system that includes texting alerts instead of sending outdated hard copy letters? By replacing traditional collection methods with an automated technology platform that smartly uses decision rules to push out text and secure e-mail, and logs a record of all the activity, you can count your profits instead of counting the number of uncollected deductibles.