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How physician practices handle patients as payers: 5 key trends

Patients are becoming a significant payer for medical providers, as they take on health plans with higher deductibles, health savings accounts or self-funded healthcare payment options. As a result, practices are working with patients on payment plans and finding ways to recover higher payments from patients than in the past.

 

Here are five key trends based on the "Medscape Practice Management Report 2017: Strategies, Staff Issues and Complaints."

1. Around 30 percent of practices collect from patients right after the visit while another 29 percent collect from patients before they see their physicians. One-forth of providers bill patients after the insurance companies have paid their portion.

2. The percentage of patient bills more than 90 days over due is:

• Less than 5 percent: 23 percent
• Six to 10 percent: 25 percent
• Eleven to 20 percent: 37 percent
• More than 20 percent: 15 percent

3. Around half of practices report their administrative staff call patients when bills are over due; another 42 percent require payments of past due accounts before scheduling a new appointment.

4. Around 40 percent of the practices turn bills over to a collections agency if they aren't paid while 11 percent discontinue service to patients with outstanding bills.

5. More than half — 61 percent — of providers send bill reminders via mail or email.

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