More Cash-Pay Patients Means Docs Need Billing Strategies

Trend is requiring providers to proactively develop comprehensive policies

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THURSDAY, June 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More patients are paying for health care services with cash, and this means physician practices need a comprehensive billing policy, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

High-deductible health plans and lack of coverage certainty are driving more patients to pay for health care with cash, but many providers aren't used to cash-pay patients and don't have clear, transparent policies in place.

According to the article, providers should have a comprehensive policy in place for cash-pay patients. As much as possible, prices for top services should be transparent and easily available. Additionally, practices are advised to designate a specific administrative person or team to cash-pay and ensure that practice management software has a tool that addresses price and payment option questions. Providers are also advised to consider taking deposits for lower-cost services when coverage is uncertain.

"The days of not checking [eligibility] should be over for everyone on every single visit," Sean McSweeney, president of Apache Health, a medical billing company based in Santa Monica, Calif., said in the article. "You don't want to find yourself in a position where you didn't ask the right question and suddenly find out you're not going to get paid for something."

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