Collecting on any kind of past-due debt is hard. It’s even harder to collect, however, when the debt is medical debt. You’re dealing with people who may have been very ill or who may have even lost a loved one. Thus, collecting on the account is a sensitive issue, but it still must be done.
To make matters worse, health care billing is often confusing. People sometimes don’t understand all the costs they’re being asked to pay, the additional fees, and other billing issues. So, if you’re planning to collect on medical debt, you should prepare yourself to answer a lot of tough questions and to potentially have long conversations with your clients.
When you talk to clients, you can better address their questions and concerns and just be more aware of their overall situation and the best possible resolutions if you know or can find out the following:
l Their deductible
l Their co-pay, and whether or not it has been paid
l The contents of their “explanation of benefits”
If your client still has questions or concerns after you’ve walked them through the process and what they currently owe, you may need to direct them to outside resources that can help them to pay their health care costs or simply stay afloat during a tough time.
It’s a good idea to keep a list of resources by the phone or in a handy pre-written email that you can easily send out when requested. Resources like the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example, can help clients to maintain their jobs while they are ill, making it easier for them to pay accumulating health care costs. There are also countless charitable organizations that provide assistance to those in need.
You may also wish to point consumers in the direction of their human resources department at their jobs. This can help them to stay familiar with and in compliance with all medical leave procedures and any coverage that may be extended to them.
While most other types of collections efforts tend to get aggressive in nature, that really shouldn’t be the case when you’re collecting on medical expenses. Remember, the people you’re collecting from didn’t just decide to spend frivolously. They had to accrue costs in order to maintain their health or the health of a loved one, and you can’t fault them for that. As such, in your collection efforts, the best thing to do is to be calm, understanding, and solution-oriented. It will ensure you keep a great reputation and, most importantly of all, that you actually help people to pay for their health care, rather than simply making the problem worse.