Insured patients typically expect to make a small co-payment when they see a doctor, and later get billed for anything else they owe. But physicians no longer want to wait for their money. The Wall Street Journal reported last month reported that medical practices and clinics increasingly are asking people to fork over their entire out-of-pocket charge as they're walking out after a visit. That could include paying amounts a patient owes toward their health plan's deductible and a percentage of the cost of care under a co-insurance requirement.
Patients who are uninsured also are being asked for money upfront, or at least signed up for a payment plan. And physician practices have started demanding patients pay in advance for outpatient surgeries and expensive imaging scans, a practice that certain hospitals have long enforced. Doctors say they have to request their fees while patients are still at the office because bills sent later typically recover only about half of what a practice is owed.
What is your practice’s front desk collection policy in light of the current economy? Is it time to adjust?