Things You Must Do to Improve Collections

  1. Be Attentive
    • Look for past due patient balances on superbill and ask patient to pay.
    • Look for computer flags which indicate past collection problems like write – offs, collection agency, NSF checks, etc. Insist on cash payment in advance for these types of patients.
  2. Be Proactive
    • Inform patient what fees are due when scheduling appointment. Example: “Please know the exam fee is $95.00, and is payable at the time of service.”
    • Verify “oddball” insurance before the patient checks out.
    • When scheduling an appointment, always ask, “Will your exam be covered by Medicare, insurance, or some other kind of health plan?”
  3. Be Assertive
    • Always ask for payment, If “no checkbook”, always suggest credit or debit card.
    • If not credit or debit card, give them the superbill and instruct them that “this is your statement…you will not receive another one in the mail,” Give patient an envelope and stamp superbill “PAYABLE NOW”.
    • In the event patient’s insurance company has paid the patient directly, or for whatever reasons has not paid us, the patient will receive a letter stating that it is their responsibility to call the insurance company and resolve the issue. Meanwhile, they are responsible to pay the unpaid balance. If, after receipt of this letter the patient calls, stand firm and keep the “ball in their court”. Remind them that “we have taken every measure we know of, and that it’s best if the patient calls insurance company. Most of the time, insurance company is more cooperative with the patient.”
    • Contact lenses should not be ordered without a down payment of 50%.
    • Contact lenses should be held until patients pay for them in full.
    • Contact lens service agreements will not go into effect until they are paid for in full.
  4. Be Selective
    • If patient has bad credit history, insist on cash in advance or at least at time of service.
  5. Be Knowledgable
    • Use insurance portals as much as possible.
    • Know the basics of Medicare, major insurance companies, and other HMOs.
    • Be familiar with co-payments.
    • Know when we file insurance for the patient and when we don’t, and know how to explain this politely and diplomatically.
    • By being the expert and speaking with confidence, the patient will trust what you say and be more likely to cooperate.
  6. Bill Quickly
    • Get away from 30/60/90 mind set (if patient wants to finance their bill, they can charge it to their credit card.)
    • Since our preference is payment at time of service – any payment thereafter is considered past due.
    • After the 1st past due statement, patients can expect to receive statements every 2-3 weeks.
    • Send patient a statement for unpaid balance immediately after receiving third 3rd payment.
  7. Use Your Own Best Judgement at All Times
    • Balance above “rules” with courtesy and respect.
    • Remember there are always going to be exceptions to the rules and gray areas.
    • Never hesitate to call upon your supervisor if the situation is too awkward or uncomfortable.
    • Do the best you can.