The Elite Billing and Payment Blog

10 Patient Financial Communication Practices That Speed-Up Slow Payers

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Oct 06, 2015 @ 12:06 PM

It’s getting harder – much harder – for providers to efficiently collect self-pay revenue.

As deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses grow, responsibility for healthcare costs is shifting from payers to patients.

Since 2010, the average deductible for workers enrolled in a single coverage plan has increased by 44%.  And the share of employees covered by High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) reached nearly one-quarter of all workers with employer-provided coverage in 2015.

That transition has magnified the challenges of self-pay collections. 

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What Providers Can Learn From Leading Retailers About Patient Payment

Posted by Brian Watson on Wed, Sep 09, 2015 @ 04:28 PM

What can leading retailers teach the healthcare industry about patient payment?

Ten years ago, the answer to that question would have likely been “very little”.  Up until recently, healthcare revenue cycle operations have been primarily optimized to secure payments from payers – with most providers collecting less than 10% from direct patient sources.

But that’s changing quickly.  Thanks to higher deductibles and the growing popularity of consumer directed health plans, patients are becoming a much more active participant in the financial side of care. Today, it’s not uncommon for over a third of revenue to come from direct patient payment sources.  And over the last year alone, total accounts receivable from insured self-pay patients increased by 13%

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Tags: Self-Pay Revenue

How to Use Choice Architecture to Simplify Your Statement Design

Posted by Brian Watson on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 04:17 PM

The world is a hectic, complex place – and it does a good job of keeping us thinking.

In an average day, we make thousands of decisions. Some are big and require active thought, like when to ask for a promotion or how much of your paycheck to put into a 401(k).  Others are much smaller and more intuitive, like determining if there’s hostility in a co-worker's voice or whether to use a fork or a spoon to eat mashed potatoes at lunch. 

And while thousands of choices a day may seem like a lot of time spent in deliberation, our brains are incredibly efficient at quickly compartmentalizing decisions.

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Tags: Statement Design

A Three-Step Guide to Collecting More Patient Payments Up-Front

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 @ 06:37 PM

Patient payment is evolving rapidly. 

From the rise in direct, out-of-pocket revenue to the transition to bundled care and value-based reimbursement models, healthcare providers are facing massive, transformational change in the way they collect and manage revenue.

A big part of that shift can be traced back to increased patient involvement with the financial side of care. 

Over the last few years, deductibles have risen sharply for insured Americans, as more and more businesses embrace cost-sharing measures.  Among all covered workers with a general annual deductible, the average deductible amount increased by 32% between 2009 and 2014

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4 Big Patient Payment Trends Shaping Healthcare Revenue Collection

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 05:23 PM

With hospitals and health systems embracing consumerism and preparing for higher levels of out-of-pocket spending, patient payment is changing in a big way.

More and more providers are now examining patient financial activities from a retail perspective – looking for transparent, consumer-driven practices that evolve how patients anticipate, manage, and pay for healthcare.

And while the trend toward retail has big-time upside, it’s also nearly impossible to carry out using traditional patient access, adjudication, billing, and payment tools

To offer real value, a retail experience needs to support fast decision making and seamless payment.  So it’s no surprise that tools like interest-free financing, automated payment plans, and online payment are catching on in a big way with providers and patients alike.

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A 12 Step Guide to Creating ‘Consumerist’ Patient Financial Communication

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

With patients asked to shoulder a larger portion of healthcare costs, providers are looking for ways to improve how they communicate with consumers about financial responsibilities

Many hospitals and health organizations have already spent a considerable time and resources in the pursuit of smarter statement design, only to have patients still struggle to consistently understand the financial side of their care. 

While statement improvement is a good start – one with clear financial benefits – more needs to be done to improve how patients anticipate and manage costs.

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Tags: Statement Design, Patient Friendly Billing

How to Use Multi-Channel Marketing to Increase Lead Generation Results

Posted by Brian Watson on Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 01:18 PM

Smart marketers are always on the lookout for the next-big-thin to help them connect with audiences and reach conversion goals – for less. 

Today, inbound marketing is a strategy that increasingly fits that definition, both in terms of effectiveness and adoption.

According to HubSpot, 85% of marketers reported practicing inbound in 2014, up 25% over the 2013.  And 40% claimed inbound techniques were their company’s primary lead source.

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A Smart Plan for Collecting Self-Pay Balances at Every Opportunity

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 03:33 PM

Like it or not, your patients are set to become a permanent fixture in revenue collection – if they aren’t already.

With the continued rise in patient consumerism, patients simply have a much more vested interest in care delivery these days.  Whereas the typical patient with insurance has long been largely shielded from the true costs of treatment, thanks to more cost sharing between employers and workers and the launch of ACA insurance exchanges, recent inflation is increasingly borne by consumers.

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Tags: Patient Friendly Billing, Self-Pay Revenue

How to Use Color to Improve Statement Design Effectiveness

Posted by Brian Watson on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 07:37 PM

Color is one of those small details that can have a really big impact on revenue cycle performance. 

Something as simple how we perceive color can shape everything from our emotions to the decisions we make.  Studies show that teachers who use pens with red ink to mark errors are more likely to spot errors and be more critical when grading essays, for example.

When our brains process color, light from various shades entering the eye sends a series of signals to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus – which is responsible for hormone production in the pituitary gland.  That pituitary response signals the thyroid gland, releasing hormones that affect emotions, mood, and physical behavior. 

In other words, people are genetically hard-wired to respond strongly to color.  

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Tags: Statement Design

11 Data Security Tips to Prepare for the 'Year of the Healthcare Hack'

Posted by Brian Watson on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:42 AM

While it’s still really early, Anthem’s massive database breach is the clear frontrunner for healthcare story of the year in 2015.

A sophisticated, large-scale intrusion that exposed the personal information of as many as 80 million patients tends to grab big headlines, after all – especially when it’s nearly 20 times larger than the previous record for a HIPAA data breach. 

And while a loss of that size is clearly big news on its own, that it goes against the conventional HIPAA incident narrative makes it even more significant.

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Tags: Security

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