Dread from a doctor’s visit comes twofold: there’s the actual appointment, and then there’s the mystery when receiving the bill. In both cases, the patient has hardly any idea what to expect.
Sensors have taken their hold in the medical world. You see them mostly in the form of wearable technology, like FitBits, but can also come as apps and other forms of big data analytics.
Like any healthcare provider, you want to improve the bottom line for your practice. For most, though, billing is unfortunately a huge source of anxiety, both in terms of time spent and unpaid reimbursements.
It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that health care providers have instances where they don’t get paid for their work, due mostly to the fickle nature of insurance companies. This doesn’t happen in most other industries.
The reality is, getting reimbursements from insurance companies is not easy. A late payment can cause many subsequent issues for your practice, and a denial can cost you tons. Unfortunately, late or non-payments can happen from your patients as well.
The Common Pitfalls of On-Time Payment
Getting both your patients and insurance companies to pay in a timely manner is often delayed by common issues. You may have seen these before:
• Misunderstood billing procedures
• Improperly functioning billing systems
• Inability of patients to meet co-pay or deductible requirements
• Accounts receivable is not routinely or expertly worked
• Incorrect coding
• Faulty documentation
Of course there are many other causes for late or non-payments, these are just a few. However, knowing the most basic problems might help streamline cash flow at your practice. Without knowing how to stop the financial hemorrhaging, your office bills can get behind quickly and thus reduce the overall revenue of your practice.
Better Ways to Get Paid on Time
In some cases, it just takes some time to make sure insurance companies and other corporate entities deliver reimbursements. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to receive them as fast as possible? Here are a few techniques for doing so:
1. Use the Right Code
ICD-10 regulations are now in effect. Make sure your office equipment, software, and EHR are all up to date with the recent changes, or else you could face unnecessary stress in receiving reimbursements. It will also be necessary to train your existing staff on the updates to ensure proper compliance.
2. Keep an Eye on the Details
If everyone in your office has access to the same information, things in the billing department can run a lot smoother. Sometimes details get scattered, or communication is not consistent. If everyone can quickly review data and generate reports, it may cut back on the internal issues that cause denials.
3. Review Patient Benefits Ahead of Time
Before accepting an appointment, be sure to verify the patient’s insurance credentials. Early communication is key – you can inform potential patients of any co-pay they will be responsible for, so they know their costs ahead of time. For further protection, you can ask them to sign a document stating they will pay the bill by a certain date.
Again, these are just a few of the possible reasons for delayed payments. If you have other issues that are causing late payments, or missing them altogether, then contact us and we can discuss some resolutions for you.
Dealing with insurance is one of the most challenging aspects of operating a medical practice. Regulations are so complicated that they can seem arbitrary, and even the simple things can be turned into a laborious process.