Every dollar collected from patients is another dollar added to your already slim profit margins. Collecting those dollars is another matter.
Here are a few stats for you:
- More than 75% of consumers use the internet to pay bills, and almost as many say they prefer the option to pay medical bills online or via apps.
- Roughly 76% of consumers report being confused about their insurance coverage as well as the medical bills they receive in the mail.
- In 2015, 74% of healthcare providers saw a decrease in insurance coverage (largely due to high-deductible plans) and an increase in patient-owed bills.
Those facts can serve as a guide of sorts as you structure information- and education-based content in a more relevant and applicable way.
9 Tips to Increase Patient Payment Using Healthcare Marketing
The good news is that modern healthcare marketing has plenty of digital tools available. This makes it easier than ever for patients to pay down outstanding bills... as long as you make it seem easy.
Here are 9 tips to increase patient payments via marketing.
- Market patient portals. Don't let valuable patient portals sit idle. Promote them regularly and often, sharing different tips and tricks so both staff and patients get the most out of them. This includes information on how to pay both current and overdue bills.
- Leverage appointment reminders. Customize appointment reminders to include a note about any outstanding bills with a quick link to make a payment. You can also format these to include patient-specific co-pay information.
- Implement kiosks. A San Diego-area healthcare provider installed kiosks in all of their 11 clinics in order to improve patient engagement. A side benefit? Patients started making payments in response to a kiosk-generated reminder, notably increasing the clinic's cash flow. You can do the same.
- Make costs clear and legible. Patients are confused about how much they owe, how much will be paid for by their insurance, etc. Minimize confusion by clearly providing a list of their procedures and highlighting their responsibility. Offer payment plan options right up front.
- Offer payment plans. Patients might be embarrassed to ask about payment plans but will confidently select a payment plan when given the option. It's best to offer it right from the get-go, preferably via auto-pay from a bank account or credit card.
- Always be courteous. If your small office staff is tired of dealing with the same patient about their overdue bill, this frustration may become evident to the patient—and that's a big marketing no-no. Always keep billing communications positive, helpful and courteous so that your actions aren't in conflict with brand development.
- Show them how easy it is. Make sure it's simple. Then show and remind patients how easy it is to pay their bills using a credit card, PayPal, or an online check using the patient portal or your website.
- Market to staff. Have a patient coming in with a whopping outstanding bill? Provide reception staff with automated reminders that Patient X is coming in for a 10:00 appointment and owes $XX.xx in outstanding bills. That way staff can connect in person and try to get a payment, explain charges if necessary, and offer payment plan options.
- Engage with patients regularly. The more engaged you are with your patients, the more likely they are to pay on time and the more comfortable they will be asking for a payment plan if they need one. Always keep the lines of communication open. Social media and blogs are great outlets for more personalized engagement.
We know paying bills has never been easier, but do your patients know it? Your targeted healthcare marketing will have a positive impact on billing, especially when it's all synced with your website, social media strategy, patient portal and/or similar CRM software.