Collecting at the time of service can improve customer satisfaction because patients want to be informed about their financial responsibilities. Receiving a large bill months after service can cause many patients to think negatively about their experience.
It takes about 60 days from the time of discharge to receipt of payment from insurance. Without POS, the hospital is basically financing a service interest free for 60 days.
Patients may owe the following if they have insurance:
Deductible -The initial portion of a covered expense (usually in indemnity or PPO plans) that must be paid by the insured person before the insurance policy pays its part of the expense. (For example, if the deductible is $100, then you must pay the first $100 of the covered medical costs before the insurance will pay anything at all.)
Copay - A fixed fee that subscribers to a medical plan must pay for their use of specific medical services covered by the plan.
Coinsurance - An insurance policy provision under which the insurer and the insured share costs incurred after the deductible is met, according to a specific formula. An example is an 80/20 policy with an out of pocket maximum of $2000. This means that insurance will pay at 80% until the patient has met the 20% limit of $2000. After the patient meets the $2000 limit, insurance will pay at 100%.
Now that we have calculated the allowed charges (total payment that the hospital will receive from insurance and patient ), we can calculate the estimated patient liability based on the insurance verification of benefits.
Mr./Ms. (patient/responsible party’s name), our policy is to request payment of patient responsible balance at the time of service. We have verified your insurance and there is a deductible and coinsurance (or copay) of $_____ for this visit. Please note that this is only an estimate and can vary from the actual amount owed. Which method of payment will you be paying with, cash, check, we accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa or Debit Card.
Mr./Ms. (patient/responsible party’s name), the estimated cost of your service today is $______. Please note that this is only an estimate and can vary from the final amount that you will owe. Which method of payment will you be making today, cash, check, we accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa or Debit Card.
Scenario 1: Patient states “Never had to pay at the time of service before.
Patient: I never had to pay at the time of service before.
Frye Registrar: Mr./Ms. (patient/responsible party’s name) I understand your concern, but changes in our policies were needed to contend with rising costs of health care. Paying at the time of service helps us to avoid additional administrative costs, which saves you money. Plus, it lets you take care of your payment now rather than worry about a bill later. Which method will you be paying with cash, check, we accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa or Debit Card.
Frye Registrar: Mr./Ms.(patient/responsible party’s name) we verified your insurance coverage, and yes your insurance will pay but the hospital should not have to wait until insurance processes to receive your balance which we have estimated today. Which method will you be paying with today?
Scenario 4: I don’t want to put on credit card and pay high interest can I make payments?
Patient: I really do not want to make payment with my credit card because I would have to pay interest.
Frye Registrar: Mr./Ms. It really is better for you to make a payment today with your credit card. You can make monthly payments to your credit card and the hospital cannot afford to continue to accept monthly payments without interest.
Patient: My ex-spouse pays for all my medical bills.
Frye Registrar: I understand Mr./Ms. that you may have an agreement between your and your former husband/wife, but that is something you need to take up with your former spouse. I will give you a receipt to send to your former spouse showing the bill has been paid so you can be reimbursed. So, which method of payment will you be making today?
Scenario 6: Doctor told patient not to worry about bill
Patient: My doctor told me not to worry about a bill.
Frye Registrar: Mr./Ms. Your physician didn’t mean you would not have to pay the bill. Your physician expected payment from you and so does the hospital. We request you pay the amount in full by cash, check or credit card.
Patient: I can’t afford to pay, and the doctor knew that. I don’t understand why the doctor sent me in for tests knowing I couldn’t pay.
Frye Registrar: Mr./Ms. the tests were a necessary part of your treatment. If they had been elective procedures, we could have scheduled them at a later date when you would be in a better financial position. However, since the tests were required immediately, let’s work out a payment plan that falls within the hospital policy.