It is a common scenario for patients to receive treatment that they are unable to pay, or simply haven’t gotten a chance to make their payment for various reasons. If you are a medical provider, there are different approaches you can take to handling medical bills which need repaying. Let’s take a look at some of the methods you can use to get outstanding payment:
- Engage a Collection Agency
A medical collection agency will follow up with your patients to make sure that they follow through on payment by sending out letters and reminders. They also track down bills and intercept them to ensure that they get paid on time.
It’s important to engage in reputable medical collection agencies. Some agencies pose as collectors only for you to realize that they were cons. Some ways that you can identify legit medical collection agencies include:
- Online reviews: Read up on the experiences of similar clinics and medical facilities as well as patients who have interacted with the collection agency. While it’s good to be repaid, you don’t want your name to be associated with a company that harasses patients.
- Word of mouth: When you’re in a similar medical circle, you may be introduced to agencies through word-of-mouth advertising. The recommendation can come from other clinic operators, doctors, and other medical professionals.
- Licence number verification: Collection agencies are regulated by the government. To ensure their legitimacy, they should be registered and able to show you their licence number. Then, you can cross-check their licence and permits through government websites.
- Website information: The agency’s site must look reputable and provide accurate information about their company as well as services. Often, their licence number and other legal requirements are posted online so that potential customers can easily check their legitimacy.
- Consultation quality: You also have the option of scheduling a consultation with the company. Meeting with a representative in-person can help you gauge the quality of their service. This way, you can make a decision about whether to pursue a relationship with that agency.
- Prior clients’ experiences: Testimonials from previous clients are valuable as well. If you can find someone in your circle that has experience working with a particular agency, talk to them about the strengths and weaknesses of that company. Then, you can determine whether they’re legit and if you’re amenable to the service they provide.
- Referrals: On the other hand, if you’re still looking for a collection agency, you can ask people you trust directly. They may know of a reliable company that can help you.
The advantage of hiring a reliable medical collection agency is that you continue with your business services while debt is handled for you making this convenient.
- Create a Payment Plan
In some cases, patients are unable to pay bills because of the inability to raise the round figure needed for the bill. You can decide to create a payment plan for patients by assessing their circumstances and credit history, for instance. A payment plan can be split into monthly deductions until the full amount is paid off.
A payment plan, however, isn’t a guarantee that the bill will be paid. Patients can still default on monthly payments. In that case, you may still need to resort to engaging a medical collection agency.
Here are the steps you can take to make an effective payment plan for your clients:
- Calculate All Their Payables: First, you have to know exactly how much debt they’ve accumulated. For medical bills, you should take note of any medicine, services, and accommodation that needs to be repaid. This makes it easier for everyone to calculate how much the patient has to pay each month.
- Determine a Strategy: Take care of your clients by helping them find the repayment strategy that works for them. Some people prefer to focus on the smaller debts first to build momentum and ease into the habit of setting aside money for monthly repayment. Meanwhile, those who have other bills may choose to pay the ones with the higher interest rates first since this can save them more money.
- Provide Financing: Everyone should qualify for financing. Setup options that can help your clients fulfil their financial obligations. For instance, you can offer patients from one family to consolidate their balances into a single monthly payment to make it more convenient.
- Make It Long-Term: Create a long-term repayment schedule to ease the financial burden on your patients. Depending on their balance, you can provide them with zero-interest repayments for up to three years. Remember, most patients want to fulfil their healthcare obligations. They might just need a helping hand to achieve that goal.
- Offer Several Payment Methods: Convenience is a significant factor in getting paid for your services. Knowing this, you should find different payment methods to cater to the needs and preferences of your clients. Online payments, like through e-banking and digital wallets, are preferred by a lot of consumers these days.
There are many payment plan options that you can provide for your patients that make it easier for them to make their payments and for you in the long run as you’ll be able to more effectively received your repayments due.
- Garnish Wages
The term ‘garnished wages order’ refers to an order by a court that a defendant is given money by the government or another entity in return for not disputing the case. These ‘orders of garnishment’ must be given by a judge and are enforceable by the courts. Patients are ordered to pay garnishments if they refuse to acknowledge them. Failure to acknowledge can result in the courts taking wages directly out of the patient’s bank account. The process of garnishing patients’ accounts can be handled by a medical collection agency.
Some of the ways that you can handle unpaid bills include engaging a medical agency to follow up on the payments. You can also create a payment plan with the patients and in the worst-case scenario, go to the courts. These processes can be time-consuming, meaning medical collection agencies are a convenient method of assistance. Make sure to engage reputable agencies to avoid scams and poor-quality services.