Over the last few years, patients have seen a steady increase in their portion of the financial responsibility for medical bills. With the trend of rising deductibles, private practices find that a far larger portion of their yearly revenue is collected directly from patients, rather than insurance companies.
As these payment models shift, private practices are at more risk than other providers because of the nature of their work. Many medical specialties are looking for new payment solutions that will streamline the revenue cycle and make it easier to collect patient payments.
Card on file (COF) systems are exactly what the name would suggest. This software allows practices to keep a patient's credit card on file in their database, securing payment. This allows practices to set scheduled payments that are directly withdrawn from the patient's account in a timely manner, drastically diminishing the amount of delinquent bills. COF can be used to schedule monthly payments, charge the balance of services, and pay co-payments, easing the process for the patient as well as the billing department. Patients can update their cards with the practice, should they want to switch to a different credit card for payment or in cases where they might have been issued a new card.
Many practices are finding card on file to be an optimal way to streamline their collections protocol, but it's especially useful for a number of specialties that rely more heavily on payment directly from patients.
1. Concierge Medicine
In concierge medicine, the patient often pays a yearly fee to maintain membership with the doctor of their choice. This fee is usually beyond the scope of their insurance and therefore paid directly by the patient. In many cases, concierge practices bill directly to patients and do not deal with insurance companies at all. While the practice of concierge medicine originated with wealthy patients, more and more middle class clients are finding their way to concierge medicine which, in turn, raises the risk of non-payment. It's also not unheard of for wealthy patients to forget to pay their bills. COF systems work exceptionally well for these practices because the patient's yearly fees and any other charges can be directly withdrawn at the time of service or on a schedule decided upon by the patient and practice. As concierge medicine relies heavily on patient payment, this system works well to keep the revenue cycle running smoothly.
2. Fertility Clinics
Fertility clinics offer a wide range of services that are not traditionally covered by insurance. Often clinics will work with patients to determine the best method for conception and bill the insurance on their behalf for the services that insurance will cover. But many policies simply don't cover many of the medications and treatments for infertility. In this situation, the patient is paying out of pocket for very expensive treatments. Card on file allows the patient to set a payment schedule with the clinic and gives the provider a guarantee of payment through the course of treatment.
3. Plastic Surgery
While there are a great deal of procedures in a plastic surgery practice that will be covered under most insurance policies, plastic surgeons perform a much higher percentage of elective procedures than other doctors. This means that they will see a much higher percentage of procedures covered solely by the patient, and will have a much harder time collecting payments.
Card on file is the payment solution that could solve many problems with collecting patient payments--especially for more expensive medical specialties. Learn more about it in the eBook below.