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Archive for January, 2011

Collecting Deductibles at the Start of a New Year

Friday, January 14th, 2011

There is controversy over whether or not you should collect deductibles at the beginning of a new year. In this day of high deductible health plans, it is essential that you collect what you can. We all know it’s easier to collect before service is rendered then after.

It’s not a bad idea to collect deductibles from patients because it improves cash flow and prevents back-end billing. But, if you intend to collect deductibles make sure the claims are being filed right away. The deductible will be applied by the carrier on the first claims received. If your patient sees multiple providers and your claim is not filed timely, the deductible may be applied to someone else’s claim. If that happens and you’ve collected the deductible, you will have to refund the portion not applied to your claim.

There should be a plan in place to call patients before their appointment; not only to remind them of the appointment, but remind them to be prepared to pay their deductible (or a portion thereof) when they come in. Patients choose these plans because they are less expensive, but sometimes they either can’t pay or don’t intend to pay the deductible. It’s important to be proactive and educate your front office staff.