The bumpy ride that has been the implementation of, the health insurance mandate, and the overall transition of federal healthcare reform has healthcare providers scrambling to keep up.

Now may be the time to engage an early-out partner, at least in the short term, to keep on top of our patient account load before the backlog of accounts receivable needlessly rolls into bad debt.

In the minds of many providers, the early-out partner is a vendor who manages self-pays and the uninsured, setting up payment plans and keeping on top of patients to make certain they fulfill those financial obligations in full and on time.

But with the disruption that has resulted from implementation of healthcare reform, an early-out partner can be much, much more.

Bring Order to the Chaos

As a result of the changes from national healthcare reform, confusion is becoming the norm. Many patients aren’t aware of their current status with regard to health insurance coverage. Many patients will now have insurance for the first time in their lives, others are transitioning to plans with higher deductibles or higher co-insurance, still others don’t have insurance at all. There is also another population that believes it has signed up for insurance (and may actually have done that) but because of the snafus with health insurance marketplaces don’t have insurance at all.

Transitions, particularly as rocky as this one has been, strain the administrative resources of healthcare providers, who are forced to help their patient population through this transition.

An effective early-out partner can assist healthcare providers with clarifying and pinpointing a patient’s health insurance status, and, if the patient’s insurance status is lacking, identify additional resources such as workers’ compensation, secondary insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or other program that can be tapped, while at the same time insuring the patient is knowledgeable and responsible for their financial obligations to the provider.

Handling Overflow

Many healthcare providers who, in the past, have been able to keep up with their accounts receivable are finding that the complications resulting from the transition to Obamacare are straining their patient access, patient financial services, billing and coding departments.

As we all know, this, too, shall pass. But to reduce the number of accounts going to collections, one option should be to engage an early-out partner — temporarily. By hiring a partner in the short term to handle patient overflow, a provider can prevent the backlog of accounts growing to become unmanageable and, as a result, increase the days out of your A/R and increase the number of accounts going to collections.

At some point the chaos will stabilize, and, hopefully, we’ll be back to business as usual.

This article originally appeared in the DECA Blog–Bottom Line Results Matter, sponsored by DECA Financial Services in Fishers, Indiana. 

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