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Best Practices for Collecting Healthcare Debts

Posted on in Debt Collection

Best Practices for Collecting Healthcare DebtsDebt from medical bills is one of the top causes of people filing for bankruptcy in the U.S. Unlike purchasing a home or vehicle, healthcare is often an urgent need, and patients must immediately decide whether they will go forward with medical treatment. As a healthcare provider, you do not want medical bills to add to your patients’ stress but may need to be aggressive if a patient has gone months without paying. Organizations such as the Healthcare Financial Management Association have guidelines on how to best handle debt collection from patients:

  1. Understanding Patients In Advance: A patient may have limited health insurance coverage or no health insurance. You may need to educate patients about the ways that they can obtain health insurance or apply for financial assistance. Be upfront about the cost of the appointment or service and whether you offer a payment plan for patients who cannot pay the bill in a lump sum.
  2. Clear Billing: The medical bill that you send to a patient should be easy to read and understand. Highlight the amount that the patient owes and the deadline by which you expect payment. Remind them of any payment plans that you offer and encourage them to contact you immediately if they have any questions or concerns.
  3. Communicate with Affiliates: You may work with business affiliates that also need payment for the services that they provided. You can confuse your patients if both you and an affiliate are sending separate bills with different guidelines and expectations. Coordinate with your affiliates so that you are consistent in your billing and debt collection practices. Make sure that your patients are not being billed twice for the same service.
  4. Early Intervention: Starting formal debt collection efforts may cause that patient to not use your practice in the future. Before you get to that point, reach out to the patient to ask about the overdue payments. Discuss ways that the patient may be able to afford the medical expenses. If the patient seems unwilling to cooperate, mention without threatening that you have the right to pursue legal enforcement of the debt but would rather settle the issue without resorting to that.

Contact a Chicago Debt Collection Lawyer

A patient may force you to use a debt collection agency or litigation if your attempts to work with him or her are unsuccessful. A Chicago debt collection attorney at Walinski & Associates, P.C., can advise you on your options for collecting on unpaid healthcare bills. To schedule a consultation, call 312-704-0771.

Source:

https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/finance/10-best-practices-improve-medical-debt-collection?page=0%2C1

Illinois Creditors Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association
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