Medical debt collection is a rising concern driven by rising healthcare costs which have been escalating for years. Healthcare debt is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – sources of debt for many Americans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is tasked with protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices by financial institutions, has taken a special interest in medical debt collection practices. The agency has been studying this issue for years, including issuing a report in 2015 that found that “most consumers do not understand how medical debt is collected or why they are being pursued by a collection agency.”
Medical Bill Collection Agency
Some people were surprised to learn that their medical bills had been turned over to a collection agency or debt collector after they thought they had paid their bills. They also expressed confusion about why medical bills were being sent to collections at all since they thought their insurance would cover them or because they had no idea where else to turn when they could not cover out-of-pocket costs.
A 2022 CFPB report also found that many consumers were confused about what exactly could be done about their debts once they’d been sent to collections. Some believed there was nothing more they could do, and felt powerless when faced with potentially damaging debt. And the debt is certainly damaging; as of June 2021, consumer credit records reported $88 billion in medical debt.
However, as the healthcare industry continues to evolve and new regulations are implemented, it’s no longer just about collecting payments. It’s about providing white-glove customer service, transparency, and ensuring that patients understand their rights when it comes to debt collection.
Medical Debt Collection Requires Innovative Solutions
At CBE, we take pride in our service-oriented approach with empathy and education. We have developed a unique model for handling medical debt that creates partnerships between hospitals and their patients. People are already in a difficult position when they fall behind on their payments, so we provide services that go beyond collections and into consumer education and outreach:
A team approach. We are committed to patients’ emotional and financial well-being. To that end, we offer a highly-trained team of representatives whose mission is to educate or assist in making payment plans, while also ensuring that each experience is positive and professional. Our team approach ensures that all questions will be answered by someone with the knowledge and expertise to address any concerns.
The right tools for the job. Our proprietary platform streamlines patient account management by providing real-time information on outstanding balances and payment activity. A user-friendly portal helps patients resolve accounts, establish payment plans, and make changes to their arrangements.
Blending Artificial Intelligence with Dynamic technology. Through a SMART IVR (Interactive Voice Response) patients have the flexibility to self-serve to review their account, make payments or check their balances. This technology assists patients who wish to resolve their accounts without speaking to a live representative.
Medical billing and the collection of unpaid balances is a complicated and often emotionally taxing process. Many medical practices are overwhelmed with a high volume of patient accounts and lack the resources or expertise to effectively manage their own collections.
With CBE’s decades-long track record, high standards of performance and strong compliance and security protocols, healthcare organizations can create patient communication and payment plans that translate into higher debt recovery.
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