Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve had at least one experience with a patient who hasn’t paid their medical bill. You also probably know how frustrating it can be for all parties to work through the situation and get the account settled.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand why someone wouldn’t pay their bills and why patient payments can be so challenging to collect. Unfortunately, the cases of unpaid medical bills continue to increase, and medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why patients leave their bills unpaid.
Why Patients Don't Pay Their Medical Bills
1. Size and Number
Medical bills are often much bigger than patients expect, especially since most healthcare providers do not share prices (or even estimates) before the procedure or visit. Many times, patients are also sent multiple bills. When they’ve been in surgery with a full care team or had several follow-up tests or appointments, these bills often arrive separately. To some patients, it can feel like bills with hefty price tags are coming out of the woodwork. They don’t know where to start paying, so they don’t.
2. Errors on the Bills
At some point, practices are likely going to issue bills with errors in them. Whether it’s a coding error, a pricing error or something else, patients could get a bill that is higher than it should be. If they don’t understand the process of following up, appealing and fixing that price, they might just not pay in the hopes of either buying time or having their healthcare facility discover the error.
3. Lack of Cash on Hand
Many times medical bills appear unexpectedly. It’s no secret that many Americans today are juggling debt from student loans, credit cards and more. Without budgeting, most Americans don’t have access to the funds needed to pay their bills, especially if they are uninsured. Even if they do have insurance, deductibles are steadily increasing, and finding the money to meet that cutoff can be difficult.
4. The Facility’s Billing System
In general, healthcare facilities have historically billed insurance companies for the majority of bills, not individual patients. However, as deductibles rise, more and more of those payments are falling on patients' shoulders. Many facilities simply don’t have the infrastructure to follow up with patients or collect smaller payments, which means their revenue cycles are beginning to take a hit.
An Easier Way to Collect
There is a way, though, for your practice to reach out, follow up and collect patient payments and decrease the revenue cycle. Patient engagement platforms, like PatientBond, give you a better way to communicate directly with your patients and close that billing gap.
With the PatientBond platform, you can leverage a proven and proprietary psychographic segmentation model to classify your patients into one of five different groups. From there, you can understand who prefers which method of payment reminders and how often they’d like to be reminded. You won’t run the risk of sending too many messages and annoying someone, driving them to withhold payments out of frustration.
Psychographic segmentation is also designed to increase patient engagement. This system provides carefully crafted messaging that is designed to motivate each patient to respond and take action on the payment reminders you send. These messages appeal to each psychographic segment’s unique motivations and priorities, inspiring healthcare consumers to make the payment, rather than brush it off.
The PatientBond platform has gotten three times the response of phone calls and has resulted in 4x the daily outstanding balance collected. It also automates collections and takes the pressure off of your team so they can go back to what they do best: caring for your patients.
For more patient payment insights, download our case study.