For patients, out-of-pocket costs continue to rise, making it harder to afford necessary care. As a mental health provider, this increases the risk of patients having outstanding balances. When billing is handled improperly, your practice may face revenue loss along with payer scrutiny.
Here’s what you should know about mental health billing so that you can improve patient collections.
Mental health care coverage differs based on which company the patient uses for insurance coverage. As a rule of thumb, ensure that your staff or a mental health billing service contacts the patient’s insurance provider to verify eligibility before services are provided. Communicating with insurance companies ahead of time minimizes the risk of collection issues.
When contacting insurers, it’s important to determine:
• Copay charge
• Deductible costs
• How much of the deductible has already been covered
• Which services are covered
By knowing this information ahead of time, your office can maintain a summary of a patient’s billing and collection details. This improves patient readiness for making the necessary payments in order to receive mental health services.
When billing for mental health services, another way to improve patient collections is to always request copays at the time of service. This ensures that your practice is getting the revenue it needs to pay for your salary, staff, office space, and other necessities that enable your practice to provide top-notch patient care.
By switching to a point of service collection model, practices have found that they’re able to spend less time billing patients and collecting past due balances. Instead, more time can be spent on providing mental health services and treating patients.
It’s also important to note that patient copays are vital in your practice’s revenue. While some providers waive them, for others, copays can account for 20-30% of total revenue.
Having an easy and flexible payment system increases the chance that a patient will be able to pay for the services that they have received. At a minimum, your practice should accept credit card payments, including VISA, Mastercard, and American Express.
To make paying even more convenient for patients, be sure to keep patient’s credit cards on file. This way, the card can be charged without the patient having it in hand. Practices may even want to consider accepting web-based payment options like PayPal and Trello, or offering automatic billing so that payments are never late or missed.
Managing a mental health practice while also staying on top of billing and collections can be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Are you looking for trusted billing services for mental health providers? Want to outsource your collections and billing to a team of experts? If so, we can help.
Psychiatric Billing Associates is a full-service billing company that has served mental health providers for more than two decades. We’re here to maximize patient and insurance collections so that you can focus on your patients and your practice.
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