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Do you always collect co-payments up-front (Non-Medicare patients)?

You should!

One report from Medical Economics about 10 years ago said that it costs the average office approximately $3.12 to send a statement to the patient, after all of the ancillary costs are calculated. National MGMA put out results of a study about five years ago that stated when calculated in it's entirety, mailing a claim form costs more than $8.00 to produce and send. This took into account the staff time, postage, printing, labels, mailing etc.

The chances of ever collecting anything from a patient drops 16% the moment a patient walks out the door without paying. In other words, you have an 84% chance of collecting your funds if you do not collect at the time of service.

We recommend asking for the patient copay at check-in and including this requirement in the patient information brochure. In fact, if a patient continually does not pay his copay, he may be in violation of his contract with his insurance company. Note: This does not apply to Medicare patients.

If you don't charge interest on patient balances and not everyone can pay their balance after insurance, one idea is to have coupon books printed. Set patients up on a contract stating they won't receive statements or be charged interest as long as they pay their agreed amount monthly and call the practice if there is a problem. Practices that have implemented this state the patients really like it, and pay on time. 


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