Keep Patients Happy and Your Bottom Line Healthy by Avoiding Billing Errors

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Medical billing errors. Not only do they cost your practice money, they also infuriate patients. But often these billing errors are easily preventable. Read on to find out how.

Prevent Registration Errors to Help Avoid Billing Errors

Mistakes during patient registration cause claims denials in medical office billing – and inaccurate patient demographic information can spell disaster for claims submission. Common billing errors can stem from keyboarding mistakes during patient intake, such as transposing an insurance policy number. Sometimes secondary insurance erroneously gets placed in the primary insurance spot – and boom, the claim is denied. What if the patient remarried and changed her name on her picture ID, but not on her insurance card? A misspelled or mismatched patient name can cause a denial.

To fix these problems, don’t just ask patients whether their insurance information has changed. Collect the insurance card and picture ID at the time of registration, and scan it into the patient’s record. You can also give patients copies of the insurance information you have on file for them and ask them to review it for accuracy.

Next, check the patient’s insurance information at the insurer’s web portal to screen for accuracy. Best practice is to perform this screening before the patient is seen in the office so discrepancies can be resolved before a billable service is rendered.

Collect Your Copays and Deductibles at the Time of Service

Requiring patients to remit copays and balances at the time of service is the best way to collect what the patient owes you. Failing that, bill the patient later. Whatever you do, make sure your practice bills patients for the amounts they owe that are not covered by insurance. For example, let’s say a patient has a $200 deductible that hasn’t been met. If your charges that day exceed the deductible, make sure you collect that $200! Just think – if you failed to collect that $200 deductible for two patients a day, you’d lose at least $8800 a month in revenue. Again, the key is making sure the patient knows what she will owe, so she doesn’t get a nasty surprise in the mail weeks later.

Prepare Your Patients in Advance on Their Financial Responsibility

Today many patients carry insurance plans with very high deductibles, as much as $6000 per year. Now more than ever, patients need to know their financial obligations in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises when they arrive at the office. Not only does this affect your practice’s and the patient’s finances, but also billing issues can influence patient satisfaction scores. A patient may love his clinician and the care he receives, but if he believes the registration and billing staff are unpleasant, he may decide to find another practitioner. Clearly communicating financial responsibilities helps improve patient satisfaction and at the same time makes patients more likely to pay their bills, too. Moreover, avoiding billing errors in healthcare will keep both practice and patient happy.

How About You?

Are you a whiz at patient collections? Share your secrets! Let us know in the comment box below.

A/R Authority Turns Every Patient into a Paying Patient

Struggling with unpaid patient balances and wondering why old collections methods aren’t working? SuperCoder’s A/R Authority is a one-stop approach that handles reminders using automated phone calls, text messaging, email, and traditional mail. A/R Authority gives your practice easy access to patient payment tools like credit card payment portals, collection agencies, credit bureaus, and more. Check out A/R Authority today!

About 

Susan taught health information and healthcare documentation at the community college level for more than 20 years. She has a special love for medical language and terminology. She is passionate about ensuring accurate patient healthcare documentation through education. She has a master's degree in healthcare administration, is a certified healthcare documentation specialist, and serves as immediate past president for the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

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