One thing is certain: there were many billers that consistently swam against the current and made their way to shore more successfully than ever this year. How they did it may have something to do with some essential medical billing capabilities that they either embraced right away or that they had already been utilizing for some time. To view specific examples of successful billers and how they overcame this year’s challenges, you can read about Manik Chawla or Dottie Jackson.
Below, some key patient billing capabilities are outlined and placed on a maturity spectrum for your awareness in hopes that you too can successfully swim to shore into 2021.
The different maturity spectrum categories are as follow: mainstream capabilities are well-known and widely adopted technologies in the industry, matured capabilities are tried and true and show proven benefits for medical billers, developed are capabilities that are quickly gaining traction in the industry and seem to have promising results, and emerging capabilities are new technologies that have not yet proven to be fully effective but deserve watching.
1. Bill Delivery Methods
It is the 21st century. Most of us are very selective of who we communicate with: throwing out random mail and blocking or ignoring phone numbers we don’t recognize. However, when we get a text message, we are more prone to answering it if we can read the message quickly and ensure it is coming from a valid source. Offering a variety of delivery options ensures the bill will be viewed.
Text message Bill: delivered via a text message directly to the patient’s personal cellphone
Email Bill: a bill that is delivered to the patient’s chosen email account
Paper Bill: the classic bill in the mail
2. Automatic Statement Review Methods
Time = money. If you are still spending hours reviewing and revising payments before they are sent or if your PM software isn’t syncing properly with your patient payment software, you are wasting time you could have used for more productive activities.
Charge Detail: the information on the bill, includes balance, doctor, service code, etc.
Bill Delivery Recurrence: amount of bill notices sent to patient before writing it off/sending to collections
Insurance Responses: the reason why the patient owes according to their insurance
Minimum Balance: defining a minimum charge to bill (You don’t want to bill someone for $0.50)
3. Patient Billing Engagement Methods
When you have a question on a service or product and especially when it involves money, do you reach out via phone call, email, or chat? They all have different response times and fit our schedules differently, so why not offer more than a couple of options to your clients as well?
IVR: automated phone system that can respond to patients without a representative on the other end
*This method is not as popular yet, but Inbox Health is on the cutting edge*
Integrated Emails and Text Messages: in-software emails and texts used by patients and billing reps
Integrated Chat: in-software chat interface that allows patients to communicate with reps in real-time
Out-of-app emails: communication via patients’ personal email address
4. Payment Methods
The number of consumers who adopted mobile payment methods due to COVID-19 grew 40% in the last eight months alone! Why shouldn’t the Medical Billing industry mirror this trend? Why should the very thing that allows patients to pay their bills be a challenge to them?
Bitcoin: a type of cryptocurrency: funds are transferred and stored in a computerized database
Mobile Payments: include Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Android payment methods performed via a cellphone
Credit Card: paying via credit, includes MasterCard, Visa, etc.
ACH: a way to process a transaction from a financial institution to another without the need for a paper check
Cash: the friendly green bills
Checks: requires a physical check to be able to withdraw funds from a checking account
5. Payment Portal Types
Most people don’t want to spend time entering their entire credit history, full name, date of birth, address, and so on into a page to have to only pay one bill… Simple authentication portals allow patients to enter just their date of birth and they’re in!
Simple Authentication Portals: ability to enter a payment portal without having to enter too much information
Unauthenticated Portals: leads directly to payment page, usually unsafe, and a very manual billing process
Heavy Authentication Portals: patients usually have to create an account with a login and password to enter
6. Automatic Payment Posting and Applying Capabilities
If a payment automatically posts and applies, and it is traceable, there isn’t a need for paper trails (pun intended). An automatically posted and applied payment saves time and again, you guessed it – money.
To learn more about Mailbox, Inbox Health’s lockbox solution, click here.
Implementation isn’t an all or nothing situation. There are vendors who allow you to try out their services without long-term commitment to discover if you would like to continue improving. Look for providers that have flexible agreements and understand that most new things deserve evaluation.
Inbox Health’s offerings can do just that: with a 30-day no-risk agreement, testing out new capabilities can be easy and encouraging. The scope of offerings and the team of experts at Inbox Health guide you along the process for a smooth transition without any surprise fees.