Is the US Postal Service affecting your AR?
“Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” Louis DeJoy, US Postmaster General, responded to questions about the USPS broader new 10-year strategic plan in February 2021. On average standard mail takes 1 to 4 days depending on where the mail is being delivered. With the new plan, less mail will be transported through the air. The projected regions to be most affected are Florida, Southern Texas, New England and the Rocky Mountains. What does this mean for healthcare facilities who mail letters and statements to their patients?
Along with biannual price increases, the holiday season will also see a slight increase on postage. The increase will cause the cost associated with paper statements to continually rise. An online survey from Consumer Action, showed that out of 2,600 people, 74% prefer paper bills. Although 56% prefer to pay their bill online, most people do not want to go paperless because they fear missing the bill in their inbox. Patients fear that mail might get filtered into junk or spam or they might accidentally delete the message. Many simply prefer paper statements to see a line-by-line description of their charges.
Are you making it convenient for patients to pay their bills? With current technology patients should have access to create an account, view online statements and pay their bill. On average, hospitals sort their KPIs into High performing, average and below average. When a patient pays their bill 30 days or less, they are considered high performing. The average time a patient pays their bill is 40 to 50 days with below average at 60 days or more. If mail is taking an extra 1-3 days to reach patients, it could result and increase of days to pay. Additionally, increased mail delays during the holiday season can sometimes result in an additional week for statements to reach the patient.
Your company can take away the fear of missing that email or the email landing in the junk folder. By setting up multiple ways to communicate, this helps notify the patient when their statement is ready. Offers SMS not only sends a text reminder for an appointment, but it can also notify the patient that their statement is available and they can click the link to view. The patient should be able to set up a reminder if they cannot pay their bill that day. A text reminder, helps prevent them from missing their payment due to lack of a piece of paper. Sending reminders electronically also eliminates the possibility of the statement being thrown away or damaged.
With today’s technology, providers can decrease their AR aging by offering their patients multiple ways to pay their bill. Taking into consideration the increasing days for mail to be delivered, focus on digital statements and online bill pay is the immediate answer. Internal strategies between revenue cycle leaders and hospital marketing teams can make an immediate impact. Point of service messaging along with digital and social media promotion increase adaptation to electronic payments. To learn more about how MedCo can help you exceed your financial goals, please visit www.medcoservices.com or call 844-528-4338 to discuss.