The following guest post was submitted by Jason Meyer, CEO of Frost-Arnett. For more information on the Frost-Arnett/Health iPASS partnership, please click here.
The proliferation of high deductible health plans (HDHP) has resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of healthcare that is paid directly from the patient. Per The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, in 2016 the average deductible was $1,478, up 49% from 2011. Further, it is estimated that 25% of Americans now have high-deductible plans and there is no signs of that slowing down. As the out-of-pocket portion of the overall healthcare bill has increased dramatically, so has the amount that healthcare providers write off and end up in the bad debt setting. This has CFO’s, Directors of Revenue Cycle and Physician Practice Managers looking for alternative ways to collect more from their patients at the time of service.
With over 125 years of experience, Frost-Arnett is intimately familiar with the issue of collecting patient balances and the growing issue it is presenting our clients. As such, we continually monitor the marketplace for alternative ways we can help our clients improve collections, reduce accounts receivable outstanding and increase cash flow. We were very intrigued by the Health iPASS solution from the moment that we met Rajesh and his team. The front-end of the healthcare system – especially in the physician practice setting - has been historically very inefficient in collecting the patient portion.
Typically that position is staffed by someone who has likely not been with the practice for a long time, has no incentive to ask for co-pays or past due balances and typically has not been trained to handle that process efficiently. Additionally, often the technology for the practice to estimate the patient pay portion of their bill is not present at the time of check in. So the point of service is not equipped to estimate and collect that amount at the time of the visit.
The Health iPASS solution is an ingenious tool that our clients can use to capture the amount due from the patient at the time when the healthcare provider has the most bargaining power – before the visit or procedure. Their solution allows for not only collecting co-pay and past due amounts, but also provides a real-time estimate of the patient due portion of the bill based on the patient’s insurance coverage and the contractual amounts that the provider has with that insurance carrier. Additionally, the patient pay portion is reserved on their credit card for ultimate resolution once the claim has been adjudicated.
We view this solution as one that can dramatically drive down the cost of collecting the growing patient balances earlier in the cycle and improve the cashflow of any provider that utilizes their solution. When you stop to think about it, all that occurs after the patient walks out of the healthcare provider’s office, is nothing but cost for that provider. Statements need to go out, phone calls need to be handled and made to try to collect the debt. If the patient ignores the statements or waits too long to see if their insurance provider will pay additional amounts toward the bill or looks to file additional insurance coverage, the debt will go to a collection agency, which is the costliest form of collection.
If Frost-Arnett can provide another solution for our clients to improve cash turn, reduce time in A/R, lower the cost of collection, improve overall collections, then we want to be a part of that solution. We feel that Health iPASS provides these benefits and that is why we decided to partner with them and offer their product to our client base. It is clear that technology is disintermediating a lot of areas in the economy and there is no reason to believe that it won’t happen in healthcare. The strategic alliance with Health iPASS enables us to be the only collection agency to provide solutions from the point-of-service, through back office support and ultimately bad debt.