Medical debt is the top reason consumers hear from collection agencies. A study by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 59 percent of people who reported they had been contacted by a debt collector said it was for medical services.
It’s no wonder. Because even though more people are insured under the Affordable Care Act than before, many are choosing high-deductible health plans despite not having the savings to cover unplanned and higher-than-expected medical bills.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, estimates from the Congressional Budget Office predict that at least 18 million people would become uninsured in the first year. With more uninsured people who are exposed to the full cost of their health care, it’s likely that the number of people with medical debt will increase. No doubt the number of patients that become delinquent in paying their debt to your organization will continue to increase as well.
While healthcare organizations are scrambling to find ways to keep patient payment delinquency from wreaking havoc with their cash management, they also have the challenge of ensuring compliance with consumer finance and protection laws.
And the oversight is increasing for healthcare organizations when it comes to consumer debt collection. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission both hold healthcare providers accountable for not only their own actions regarding the collection of consumer medical debt, but the actions and behaviors of their collection agencies.
All these trends put together means that healthcare organizations need a patient financial management strategy that is effective and compliant while maintaining healthy relationships with patients.
Handling everything in house is usually not the answer. Most healthcare organizations don’t have the expertise and experience to build an in-house patient collection strategy and function. Not only that, but staying on top of the latest federal and state level regulations around healthcare consumer finance and collections, and then determining what it takes to remain in compliance adds another layer of complexity and effort to an already over-taxed organization.
The better option is to find a partner with the experience, expertise and commitment to deliver on your financial management strategy. This means finding a partner that excels in efficiency, empathy and compliance in healthcare receivables management. By leading the way, the right partner can help your organization collect patient debt while protecting your organization’s reputation as well as community and patient relationships.
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