Return mail processing is often an overlooked sector in the revenue cycle management of healthcare organizations. However, the statistics revealed by the leading surveys show some shocking contributions of the return mails to the insurance management system. In such a recent survey conducted by Pitney Bowes, around 300 million mails concerned with healthcare insurance are returned by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to the sender in one year. This is about 20% of the total volume of the return mails in a year.
These returned mails all contain extremely sensitive information regarding the health of the patients. Hence they must be protected at all costs. On the other hand, the time wasted on recovering the right address and resending the mail to the correct party reduces the speed of the cash flow unnecessarily. In this situation, you will need a team of experts who can help you simplify the return mail processing and improve your revenue cycle. Take a look at these tips to give you a head start with the process:
1.Put the Right Information when Creating the Profile:
Though basic, this is the foremost step that should be taken with proper care if you want to stop return mail processing in the first place. Make sure that the postal code is correct; there is no gap in apartment information or any misspelled street name or number. A strict review at the point of entry will help in managing the situation in the long run. Make sure that your in-house team is kept to supervise these issues. If you are suffering from a shortage of staff, you can also trust a leading healthcare RCM partner.
2.Changing Addresses must be Updated:
In most cases, the correspondence is sent electronically to the concerned party. This is why the contact does not feel the urge to notify the organization of the changed addresses in case they have moved elsewhere. The posts are sent to the old addresses unnecessarily for a year until they are all returned to the sender with high penalty fees. This harms the revenue cycle of the healthcare organization. The organization should be in regular touch with the contacts and update the changing addresses if any.
3.Make Sure the Invoices Reach the Addressee:
If the invoices do not reach the actual addressee, these bills will most probably result in default. Since they are not paid, they will disrupt the revenue flow. It is a simple rule. The late penalty fees might be added on top of that. Taking all these points in mind, the due amount will keep on increasing without any resolution in foresight. Hence they must be delivered to the correct address to make sure that the correspondence is made on time.
4.Keep a Tab on USPS Penalties:
You must pay attention to the revenue lost due to return mail processing. This can be done simply if you keep a tab on the expenses spent on the USPS penalties for mails that are returned. If the expenses keep on increasing, it is clear that you need help with your return mail processing. Regenerated mails lead the organizations to lose hundreds of dollars because of the cost of the entire letter composition to the non-discounted postage rates. Apart from this, the USPS can fine the company if they do not meet the threshold of 70% mailing address accuracy. It can also lead to a surcharge of 7-cent-per-piece. Overall these issues lead to mounting up of hidden revenue losses.
5.Keep your Team in the Loop with the Insurance Company:
To ensure a smooth revenue cycle management, there should be sufficient communication among the healthcare organizations, insurance companies, billing companies, and patients. So if you have an in-house team, then make sure that the ones dealing with this end of the problem are in constant touch with the corresponding team at the insurance panel. With outsourced billing companies, you need not worry about this issue as they will have a dedicated team to handle the problem. Effective communication is the key to successful management. So make sure that you have that practice in place.
6.Check the Compliance Measures:
You should look out for any kind of compliance measure that you might be violating when overlooking the returned mail issue. Get in talks with your legal counsel regarding the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). This law mainly deals with fraud regarding the change of address. With the delay due to return mail processing, the risk of non-compliance increases. Make sure that all stakeholders are properly informed on the consequences of such acts.
7.Is your Data Safe?
The hackers and other scammers with malicious intentions take advantage of the delay in detection of the wrong addresses. When the delay goes beyond 45 days, it is easier for the hackers to breach the data safety of the mails. They make use of these addresses in between to send undue offers to the addressee. These incidents can be prevented if immediate action is taken to identify any wrong addresses in the first place. On the other hand, there should be adequate communication among the stakeholders and especially with the addressee, to ensure that they are receiving any such malicious offers.
8.Outsource Return Mail Processing to an Experienced Vendor:
This issue can be difficult to solve if enough staff is not in place to handle the problem. The limited staff members available to the organization need not spend their time hunting down proper addresses or staying in line with the insurance companies. Experienced and leading healthcare revenue cycle management companies offer services related to return mail processing. Get in touch with one of them and pan out a well-structured plan. The leading companies design tailor-made plans according to the unique needs of your organization. Make sure you communicate your goals properly and clearly to the vendors before appointing them.
How do the vendors handle return mail processing?
Healthcare organizations and their billing teams can benefit from a partner organization who can take out the time to properly address the issues of return mail processing. While there are many methods that the vendors use, here are some basic steps they take to make sure your issues are resolved:
- They separate the return mails with incorrect addresses from the other lot and flag the respective patient’s account. With the great volume of return mails in a physician’s office, this step alone can reduce the paperwork.
- With the flagged accounts in hand, they trace the correct and updated addresses. The faster the details are updated, the lesser the number of returned mails you will get.
- With an outsourcing partner, you will be assured of getting the right details entered into the system. Manual errors by the staff in these scenarios can lead to erroneous data log.
- With the loose ends tied up by a professional team, your reimbursements will be accelerated in no time.
Hope this blog gave you a good idea about how you can handle the return mail processing in healthcare revenue cycle management. For suggestions, shoot your questions below and we will try to answer if relevant to the topic. For more queries and updates on healthcare services, management, and technology, please subscribe to our blog. Do not forget to subscribe to our social media handles to get regular updates!