December 14, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management
The beginning of a new year brings with it changes to your patients’ eligibility and benefits. Physicians are urged to be diligent in verifying each patient’s eligibility and benefits to ensure they will be paid for services rendered. The beginning of a new year also means that both calendar year deductibles and visit frequency limitations reset. And, with open enrollment, patients may even be covered by a new payor.
Don’t get stuck with unnecessary denials or an upset patient. Do your homework before the patient arrives by obtaining updated insurance information at the time of scheduling, if possible, and making copies of the insurance card at the time of the visit.
And don't forget that deductibles are typically based on the calendar year and will reset on January 1. Best practice is to communicate with patients upon scheduling to remind them that their plan has a deductible that may be resetting on January 1 and that, if that is the case, payment will be due at the time of service. If you offer an appointment reminder service, remind the patient if payment is expected at the time of service. Failure to collect deductibles, copays and coinsurance at the time of service can be very costly for a practice, as your ability to collect can decrease significantly after the patient leaves the office.
Taking these proactive steps to protect your practice by preventing denials, delays in payment and disgruntled patients goes a long way toward ultimately saving time and money.