3 Reasons Mental Health Practices Can’t Collect Patient Payments
The field of Mental Health healthcare is embroiling in a battle that will never be won about the collection of fees. The difficulty that patients have in actually making their payments is increasing as a direct result of rising insurance deductibles and premiums. This is adding to the strain that is placing on patients. Recent study conduct by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that over half of all insured adults in the United States had problems affording out-of-pocket payments, while another 27 percent of insured persons have difficulties affording their deductible. These challenges have had a severe impact on mental healthcare, with roughly one-third of Americans skipping therapy appointments due to the excessive out-of-pocket costs associated with receiving treatment.
In light of the fact that 21% of Americans would report having a mental disease in 2020, P3Care United States absolutely must make increasing access to mental healthcare one of its top priorities. There are certain barriers that, despite the providers’ best efforts, prohibit them from fully making mental healthcare accessible to the general public, and the providers are not to fault for these barriers. After all, the providers have no influence over the total cost of care.
Errors in the Processing
The processing of payments is a difficult and time-consuming job, particularly when it comes to collecting payments from patients. Having to follow up with patients many times only increases the likelihood that a mistake will occur. During this stage of the process, there is a high potential for a number of errors to occur. These errors, which range from having incorrect patient information on file to failing to communicate effectively with the patient, have the potential to have a significant financial impact on your mental health practice.
The good news is that modern technology has the potential to either reduce the severity of these errors or completely eradicate them. Digital payment solutions are extremely cutting-edge, and they can help your business streamline and improve the effectiveness of its collection procedures. Patients are now able to provide their own payment and contact information, eliminating the need for staff members to manually enter this information for each individual patient. The same technology also enables patients to alter their information in the event that it has to be updated, which ensures that you always have the most recent version.
Increasing the Number of Deductibles
Patients have something called a deductible, which is the amount of money they are responsible for paying out of pocket before their insurance kicks in. Patients have been hit hard in recent years by steadily increasing deductibles, and the upward trend does not appear to be abating any time soon. Even having health insurance does not always assist, as over 23.6 million Americans who have employer-provided health care have reported spending a significant portion of their income on either premiums or out-of-pocket costs. This factor relates to the statistic that was discussed previously, which states that one-third of Americans are canceling meetings with mental health professionals because they simply cannot afford to do so.
One of the most significant effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the healthcare sector was an increase in the utilization of telemedicine services. Perhaps the area of mental healthcare that has benefited the most from this is telemedicine, which accounted for roughly 40 percent of all visits to mental health professionals between March and August of 2020. There is an important necessity to maintain the provision of mental healthcare over telehealth since 49% of patients have said that they are willing to use it for talk therapy.
Although telemedicine is a significant direction that should be pursued in the field of mental healthcare, it may also make the process of billing more complicated. As a result of having fewer face-to-face interactions with patients, healthcare providers have less opportunity to encourage patients to pay their bills.
Processing payments requires a lot of time and effort, especially when it involves collecting money from patients. Numerous patient follow-ups merely raise the possibility that something will go wrong. There is a great chance that several mistakes will be made at this point in the procedure. These mistakes, which can range from keeping inaccurate patient information on file to failing to connect with the patient properly, have the potential to significantly affect your mental health practice’s bottom line.