Patient balances can be a significant part of Accounts Receivables. Unless the patient liability is a simple co-pay collected at the front desk, patient balances are a headache to bill and collect. Hospital and other short-term facility patients pose additional challenges with patient balance collections.
Digital payment options are a great way to improve patient balance collections. Patients can pay their balances conveniently and quickly by providing a link to an online payment gateway. The link can be generated and shared at the front desk, kiosk, or with a billing text message. Most people have bank accounts and have at least a debit card.
Payment plans are another way to improve patient balance collections for high balances. By setting up a payment plan, patients can spread out the cost of their balance over a period of time. This can make it more manageable for them to pay off their balance, and it also shows that you are willing to work with them to find a solution. Digital payments facilitate payment plan schedules.
Banks and merchant card providers charge a significant percentage as fees - hovering around 3%. Some charge a flat blended rate of 3%, and a few providers charge a variable rate based on the card type. There may be additional fees for the use of a card reader, online access, and other monthly fees. Practices may choose to pass through these fees by adding a convenience fee to balances paid with a card.
Over 25% of calls to Glenwood's call center in Waterbury are from patients who want to pay over the phone with a card. Glenwood has options to collect the balances from these patients using a unified payment gateway and credit them back to the practices.
Practices should revisit their digital payment acceptance methods and policies and develop protocols that ultimately increase patient balance collection.