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12 tips for boosting patient payment

The way the bill looks, and reads, plays a major role in when – and whether – the office gets paid. Here are 12 ways to boost patient payment.

1   Include a return envelope with the bill. This makes it easier for the patient to pay and also ensures the payment is addressed correctly.

2   Use colored return envelopes. They make the bill stand out from the other papers the patient is looking at.

 Include a credit card form. This reminds the patient that credit card payment is an option and also makes it easy to pay by credit card.

4   The bill itself has to be readable. When the patient says, “I don’t understand this,” the bill doesn’t get paid. Use a form that explains the charge and tells the patient what to do.

 Show the name of the treating physician. The patient may not know the name of the medical group. What’s more, the patient is more likely to pay the doctor, not a corporation.

6   Show the date of the visit. If the only date is the billing date and the patient didn’t come in at that time, why pay? If there have been several visits, show the individual dates.

7   Tell what each visit was for so the patient knows what services are being covered.

8   Tell the patient to pay. And do it in lay terms such as, “The amount of your bill is $X. Your insurance has paid $Y. Now you owe $Z.” That’s far easier to understand than wading through terms such as balance forward, maximum copay, or negotiated rate.

9   Show the status of the account, again in plain language. If the account is still in the insurance process, say, “We are now billing your insurance company. No payment is due at this time.”

10   Set up a readable template for each type of payer. For the bill to make sense to the patient, it has to show the copay and deductible arrangement.

11   Show the credits in lay language: “We owe you.” And then put the check in with the bill. The patient shouldn’t have to call and ask for it.

12   Tell the patient what else to do in clear terms. “Please return your Worker’s Compensation form” is far easier to understand than, “Government regulations require that the patient procure and direct…”

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