Medtrade preview: Find a co-pay ‘bad guy’

Friday, October 4, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. – Most people with private insurance expect to hear this question from their healthcare providers: “Do you have a co-pay?”

But most Medicare and Medicaid patients expect the entire cost of their home health products to be covered, says Strategic AR’s Gabe Buckner and Jennifer Leon, which makes chasing co-pays another burden on a provider’s overworked billing staff.

Buckner and Leon will share their suggestions for making co-pay collection easier and more effective at Medtrade. Here’s an advance look.

HME News: How big of a problem is co-pay collection for providers?

Gabe Buckner: We’ve found that 30% of patients walk out without paying a dime. The chances of co-pay collection at the point of service is 90%, but three months out it drops to 73%, then 57% at six months and 27% at seven months-plus. It comes down to your employees not being trained to ask for money.

HME: What solutions do you recommend?

Buckner: Make someone else be the bad guy in collections. There are technologies to help a provider collect, on average, 70% of patient balances. Many providers I talk to don’t even collect 30%. At the time of service, have a script for the intake team explaining that there will be a deductible.

HME: Why aren’t more providers collecting co-pays?

Jennifer Leon: A lot of providers are empathetic to their patients’ situations and may have been able to write their balances off in the past. But with margin cuts and competitive bidding, that’s not possible.

HME: What kind of bottom-line benefits can a provider expect when they improve their co-pay collection procedures?

Buckner: One of the healthcare providers we work with saw a 235% increase in patient-pay revenue over the prior year by using a tiered escalation process that increases urgency with each past due letter.

Gabe Buckner and Jennifer Leon

Director of Sales and Director of Marketing, Strategic AR

Session: “Collecting Co-Pay/Self Pay Online”

Time: Tue, Oct. 8, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Services provided: Outsourced billing and collections services

Contact: 913-744-3365 /