Monday, March 28, 2016

When Patients Become Consumers

In today’s world, as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, all people have some kind of health insurance. That means that many more people than ever before are getting the health care that they need. It also means, however, that the health care market is changing in big ways. Doctors and other health care professionals have to relearn how to work with their patients and their wide array of varied health insurance providers. And, in that same way, collection agencies have to find new ways to work with the new and diverse clients who owe money on their health insurance bills.  

The fact of the matter is that while health insurance helps more people to get the medical assistance they need, it also means that people with financial challenges are getting health care. Typically, they are required to pay some kind of deductible, and, when this deductible is not paid upfront, there is the potential for unpaid medical debt to become a problem. For debt collectors, collecting on this type of debt can be tricky and difficult, but by following a few simple tips, the process can become easier for everyone involved.

To begin with, debt collectors who are attempting to collect on medical debt should be extra sensitive to their clients. It’s important to remember that these clients didn’t go out and finance some fancy car they didn’t need or buy frivolous items. They simply got the care they needed to remain healthy. As such, their debt is a bit more understandable than most other types of consumer debt and should be treated that way. These means debt collectors will typically fare better by lending a sympathetic ear and being willing to arrange payment plans and alternative options to help these debtors pay off their medical costs.

Furthermore, it’s important to understand that such clients might not actually have the means to pay off their debts. Their illness or other medical struggles may have caused them to lose their jobs or to have to resign from their positions. When that is the case, it is important to have a list of resources and other options available to help these clients to find ways to meet their financial demands. Of course, none of this is possible without an understanding medical firm behind it all, so debt collectors will have the best success if they choose to work with understanding and reasonable medical firms- firms that will not just be understanding with the clients but that will also understand if collections success rates are lower than average.

It’s basically a whole new frontier in the health care field, and everyone, from doctors and other practitioners to insurance companies and collection agencies is attempting to navigate it. The best advice, though, is for collection agencies to be patient with themselves throughout this process and, when possible, patient with the consumers they deal with as well.

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