A key strategy to maximize the dental collections involves asking for payments right after services are rendered. If the patients are on insurance, then medical billing and coding services for the collections must move on! Instant collections are 100% payments. Once the patient leaves the healthcare provider’s office, it’s up to the dental professional to think of better ways to get payments done.
The Commercial Collection Law League of America estimates that practices routinely recover 93.8 percent of patient receivables 30 days past due, 73.6 percent of receivables 90 days past due, 57.8 percent of receivables 189 days past due, and only 26.6 percent of receivables one year past due.
Carrying an accounts receivable balance is a common practice for dentists, but it can easily get out of control. If your healthcare practice is looking to increase collection rate, accelerate cash flow, and actually improve the patient payment experience, this article is for you.
Tips for Dental collections in Medical Billing and Coding Services:
- Embrace the new payment technologies
- Get connected to preferred channels
- Offer installment plans and financing
- Make friendly and persistent follow ups
- Offer in-house membership plans
- Ask for complete payment during checkout
- Overestimate v/s underestimate
- Document the process and policies
Embrace the new payment technologies:
- According to the Federal Reserve, the number of checks written per household dropped by nearly 175% over the past 15 years. The payments through cards, direct deposit and other services have been tripled.
- Consumers are now expecting the convenient payment options which do not involve a trip to the post office.
- If the healthcare professional’s dental practice is not one among the few practices for customers to expect convenient payment options that does not involve a trip to the post office, they need to change their system instead of accepting cheque that require labor costs to print, mail, and depositing the cheque payments.
- Accepting credit cards and having online payment options is a must have since the past decade. New technology payments like “text to pay” and “digital wallets” are now increasing rapidly.
- By allowing patients to complete the payment on their mobile device with a variety of payment methods including credit card, debit card, ACH, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more, healthcare professionals reduce friction between patients and making a payment to your practice.
- If the patient relies on insurance companies or Medicare for payment collections, then follow best medical billing and coding services to get paid on time.
Get connected to preferred channels:
- As a dental professional, it’s important to engage your patients on their preferred channels for your practice to run smoothly without revenue disturbances.
- Medical billing and coding service is an over looked area where connecting with patients on preferred channels has become common.
- The most answered statement from insurance companies while filing a claim for collections is “Your claim is denied”. It’s not the fault of insurance companies. The claim must have been missing or the documentation must have been wrong or inaccurate.
- With the help of text to pay option, dental patients can seamlessly complete payment in one go. Most importantly, if the patient has made a payment with the healthcare practice previously, they need not give their card or bank details again. It would already be stored in the system.
Offer installments plans and financing:
- It’s up to patients to choose their payment options. Many healthcare professionals expect their payments instantly. If the bill is large, they hand it over to the medical billing and coding services, and it’s considered to be a good start.
- For balances under $1,000, it’s recommended to provide patients with the ability to pay-in-full or in interest-free installments over a relatively short time horizon. This $1,000 cut-off will vary based on your patient base and location.
Make friendly and persistent follow ups:
- Benjamin Franklyn once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things”. It means reducing dental practice’s accounts receivable balance.
- Healthcare practices can find the collections process time consuming, emotionally draining, and expensive.
- If a normal dental practice takes on the demeanor of an aggressive debt collector, the collections process can go sideways fast and damage patient retention. On the other hand, demonstrating empathy for patients and providing a seamless process for them to pay past due balances is more effective for collections. It provides a superior experience for patients.
- Striking the right balance between empathy and persistence can be a challenge.
- There are three main areas to focus on with respect to your collection outreach process:
- Messaging and
In-house membership plans:
- In-house dental membership plans are care plans that you offer directly to the patients by leaving out the insurance companies and providing patients with affordable and comprehensive dental benefits.
- Membership plan subscription fees would result in recurring revenue for dental practice. It’s a reliable revenue stream which helps the payments to directly get deposited into the dental professional’s bank account.
Ask for complete payment during checkout:
- Asking for complete payment during check out can be uncomfortable for dental practices. But it should become a part of the dental practice’s culture.
- It doesn’t matter whether the patient has the funds available or not. It should become a standard practice to ask for payments after treatment is rendered.
- Patients will also control their expectations as they realize that the payment is expected immediately after treatment is rendered.
Overestimate v/s underestimate:
- Insurance pre-estimation is quite tricky. It is challenging to get it right. It was found that dental practices typically underestimate the patient portion.
- When a dental practice underestimates the patient portion, the dental professional needs to send an additional bill to the patient.
- Over-estimating too is a big mistake. It means that the dental professional is sending the patient a refund or providing a credit to their account while asking for more money.
- The conversation between practice and patient changes from, “sorry, we made a mistake and you owe an additional $20” to “good news, your insurance covered more than we thought and here is $20 back.”
Document the process and policies while medical billing and coding services:
- Most of the dental practices have a documented billing policy available for patients and practice staff.
- Creating a collection flow chart is an easy task. It also provides a visual representation of the steps the dental practice staff should take, based on the age of each past due account.
- When you have a documented dunning process, dental practice staff is accountable. It makes it easier to iterate on the system.
- It’s important to document the process and policies to avoid the dental billing denials or payment loss.
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