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3 Steps to Follow When Patients Don't Pay Bills

Physician checking patient payment

It’s been a tough year for healthcare providers and their patients. While the pandemic has hit health outcomes and the bottom line hard, patients who have needed care have struggled with payments.

Eventually, those bills have to be paid and more than ever, patients are looking for empathy. While that should be integrated into your approach, here are three steps you can take to make sure patients pay their bills and don’t go to collections.

Step 1: Start with Price Transparency

As of January 1, 2021, hospitals are required to disclose their prices to their patients publicly. These prices are a baseline and can vary depending on insurance coverage, complications or extra charges that can arise. But, these prices ensure a patient is prepared for what they’re paying ahead of time if the procedure is planned. It’s no wonder that 75% of patients do this.

When a patient is prepared for the costs, they’re more likely to pay their bill. In fact, 74% of healthcare consumers are willing to pay $50 out of pocket just to know the cost of their primary care visit. So if you aren’t already required to share your prices and want to convince more patients to pay their bills, share your prices. You’ll also attract more market share in the process because of transparency.

Step 2: Offer Payment Plan Options

Meet the patient where they’re at by offering numerous payment plan options. Incorporate multiple payment options into your system and if none of them work for the patient, make it easy for them to contact you. If there are other resources patients can utilize, include those as well.

Payment plan options are a necessity, which should also be factored into this. A provider’s billing department should have employees that handle this over the phone or via chat, whatever is easier for the patient. As long as the patient is working with a human being, they’re rest assured that they’re taken care of.

Step 3: Communicate Effectively

Getting a message across is easier said than done. That includes patient bills: how much is owed, how patients can pay and when those payments are due. Some patients immediately pay while others either struggle to make their payments. And then there are others who put it off on purpose.

Communication is key to solving so many problems, but the way healthcare providers communicate is extremely effective in this instance when incorporating psychographic segmentation. This segmentation model evokes patient attitudes and values to convince them to act on certain priorities when they might not have previously. That includes making patient payments by communicating with them on their preferred platform at preferred times and frequencies using language and imagery that draws them in.

PatientBond’s method involves five segments that range from most to least proactive on their health and now, PatientBond offers a specific platform, the PatientBond Insights Accelerator™, to make it easier to better engage with all patients.

There are steps to take to get patients to make payments without having to go to collections. By following these steps, providers not only avoid extra collection costs but also strengthen patient loyalty.

PatientBond Insights Accelerator™

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