Hospitals and practices have a great deal many things to deal with outside of patients and their needs. Chief among the use things are overdue insurance claims. It’s not uncommon for hospitals and practices to have an abundance of insurance claims that are 120 days past due. Ensuring that their hospitals and/or practices get paid can be a quite a chore for busy healthcare professionals. In today’s fast-paced medical world it can be very difficult for doctors to manage this aspect of their billing. Money left out in insurance limbo can put a real strain on both hospitals and practices of any size.

In order to avoid insurance claims overdue by more than 120 days and to better manage the thousands of dollars that are waiting to be collected, doctors and other healthcare professionals need to do several things. Collecting these claims all begins with gathering good information. Obtaining copies of patients insurance cards, drivers licenses, etc. will go a long way in helping to get the process of collection started. Doctors and medical managers can meet with their front desk personnel and reinforce the importance of the gathering of this information. We front desk personnel don’t collect and file this type of information away properly collecting insurance claims can grind to a halt.

When practices and hospitals want to avoid long overdue insurance claims and/or payment from patients it is a good idea to give them a solid financial agreement to sign during their visit. Unfortunately the vast majority of healthcare professionals only ask their patients sign a document containing a couple of sentences which is completely inadequate. A good solid financial agreement should contain information on collecting fees, interest, attorney and court costs, as well as payment options. Not only does this better serve hospitals and practices but it can be beneficial for patients as well giving them a clear idea of what to expect.

Turning our attention back to the front desk of hospitals and practices it behooves doctors to prohibit their front desk staff from posting charges while dealing with incoming clients, phone calls, e-mails, and even conversations with other staff members. There should be one individual that can work in seclusion and remain free from distractions. Inaccuracies, even the smallest amount of them, can delay payment significantly. It’s also a good idea to instruct any front desk staff to provide logs of lab work and other procedures so that logs can be cross-referenced at any time and to ensure that nothing is missed.

The next step in ensuring insurance claims don’t go overdue is securing a good clearinghouse. These are essentially where electronic claims are sent for processing. There are many different companies that handle insurance claims and all of them operate differently. Hiring the right clearinghouse is essential for hospitals and practices who wish to avoid leaving thousands of dollars floating in limbo. It’s a very good idea for doctors to remain forward thinking and look for clearinghouses that do everything through the Internet. The very best firms employ software that catch errors and sends claims immediately back to the hospital or practice for fixing. This quick turnaround time ensures hospitals and practices will be paid in a timely fashion.

There are a number of other things that hospital and/or practice can do to ensure that their insurance claims don’t go long overdue. The scanning of all documents for one and hiring an employee dedicated to insurance follow-ups and monitoring is a good idea. More often than not individuals who handle billing for a hospitals or practices are often reassigned to front desk duties when things get busy or when an office is shorthanded. This is a major distraction and can cause errors, delays, and many other problems.

It’s inevitable that in today’s medical world some things are going to fall through the cracks and some billing will go overdue. Following the aforementioned tips and advice however can seriously reduce the number of overdue claims that a hospital or practice has to deal with and can help ease the financial burden of these offices by paying their bills and their employees on time.

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