24 Nov The Difference between a Billing Company and a Collection Agency
Someone owes you money!
A membership survey recently conducted by the Commercial Collection Agency Section of the Commercial Law League of America showed that after just three months, the likelihood is that you’ll collect only about 70 cents of each dollar owed. After six months, that figure drops to 50 cents, and after a year it shrinks to 23 cents. This proves that time is money. Money earned today is more valuable because it is available sooner to be invested.
Unless your patient pays you in full at the time of service, you are giving them credit. Insurance estimates are not payment until received. In order to extend credit safely collect key identifiers include their social security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number. Other demographic information includes their contact information (home and work), emergency contact information (which can also be good for contacting a patient if they “disappear” during a collections process), and all relevant phone numbers. And, in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, it’s helpful to get the patient’s signature on a consent form authorizing you or your agents to contact the person at any phone number, email address, or cell phone number provided
Another safety measure is to get picture identification so there can be no doubt that the person you provided services to be the one who owes you. Most dental software today allows you to upload a photo into the database from a digital camera. At this stage in the process, patients are very willing to provide their information. Once bills become delinquent, you will no longer have the leverage to gather this information.
Most dental offices spend money on marketing and online presence to attract new patients. Patient relationships are important to the growth and reputation of the practice. When all attempts to collect debts have failed in a practice there is a reluctance to turn these patients or guarantors/debtors over to a professional collection agency. Once the account is turned over, the balance is not yours to collect. All payments on the account must be forwarded to the collection agency that will then send your commission back to you and it is usually 40-60 percent of what is collected depending upon the contract with the agency. Patients/debtors will not like you anymore and some will say negative things about you to friends, family and co-workers. If you practice near your home, this can get uncomfortable.
Prevention is the key to sending accounts to a collection agency. If your business staff is having problems with claims payment and now collections from patients it is better to utilize a dental billing company before the last ditch efforts of the collection agency. Collection agencies collect debt full time and they do not solve insurance billing issues for patients like eAssist does. They will also tack on fees and interest to the patient’s debt because they can and are not concerned with building a relationship.
When the debtor receives a letter and a call from an eAssist billing agent, they are aware it is not the dental office. They now know the practice is getting serious about the collections and they have an opportunity to work things out before a professional collection agency is hired. The nice lady at the desk is not who is calling, it is a professional billing expert and they are more apt to listen and cooperate.
eAssist collects what is owed on the account and does not add fees or penalties to the patient accounts.
Want to maintain good relationships with your patients and collect what is owed to you at the same time? Consider hiring the nation’s largest dental billing company today. Call or contact eAssist.