Patient Retention

Is Failing to Collect Upfront Costing You Patients?

Ok, let’s set the scene.

The patient arrives as scheduled, is treated and released with no upfront costs. You bill the health plan but your payment is $200.00 less than expected because the plan deductible was not met at the time of service. You invoice the patient several times and wait, but the patient either lacks the funds or simply feels no obligation to pay. You note the chart with the intent to hit her up for payment at her next visit.

The patient, uncomfortable with the looming balance, rather than pay it, decides to not to return to the office. 

Of course, you have options;

  • You can continue to spend your time chasing after $200.00.
  • $200.00 is not a huge amount so you can write it off.
  • You can involve a collection agency who will demand a hefty portion of the recovery. 

Bottom line, is failing to communicate and adhere to your collection polices costing you patients and the future revenue that could have been generated for their care?

It’s no secret, health carrier’s require that you collect all applicable co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance amounts. Upfront payment is a must, getting a patient to pay after they have left the office is tough - so communication is key.

  • Every patient should have a copy of your office collection policy.
  • Always, contact the health carrier to confirm benefits, eligibility and deductible status before the patient arrives.
  • Estimate the patient’s out of pocket costs for the visit. When you call to confirm the appointment also tell them what they will be expect to pay when they arrive.
  • For every new patient, in addition to the office collection policy, privacy rules, health questionnaire, release and assignment of benefits forms they should also presented with a Summary of Your Plan sheet. It’s funny, most patients will read the manual that came with their new toaster from front to back but they have no idea how their particular health plan works. The Summary sheet will provide them with a general overview of their plan including deductible amounts and status, any applicable not covered charges, patient and plan percentages, how over allowed amounts are handled, etc.. This way the patient can have some idea what they are expected to pay for each visit and they can plan for it. 
  • Finally, collect EVERYTHING that is due BEFORE the patient is seen by the provider.·          

Note: Go to our "Forms & Templates" tab under the "For Provider" page at for sample of a Summary of your Plan sheet that you can modify to fit your needs.

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