Deciding whether to provide a credit/debit card payment option for emergency services can be a difficult process.
Multiple times every day…you are the heroes. It’s your job to be on call…rain or shine…when your community needs you. It is understandable that asking for payment for performing a duty that most simply see as the right thing to do can be an uncomfortable prospect at best.
But there is a reality component to this scenario as well.
In order for you to do your jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible you must have the proper equipment, training, and facilities when called upon. And none of these things come free. In fact, the costs to provide superior emergency services increase every year.
Here are a few reasons we have identified why you may want to consider incorporating online and telephone credit/debit bill-pay into your billing process…
Consumers are, increasingly, doing more of their shopping and payment transactions online and over the phone. Most major banks now offer mobile applications for smart phones that virtually replace the need for a customer to physically go to a banking location. Doing business at your fingertips becomes more the norm each and every day. Accepting online/phone payments via credit/debit card is crucial to efficient and effective revenue recovery for any emergency/EMS group.
- Increased revenue
What if you don’t have the full amount due for your ambulance transport bill? What if you don’t have or use bank checks? How often, in cases of no private insurance/Medicare/Medicaid, does your squad simply never receive payment at all? Incorporating debit/credit card payment capability into your billing process is common sense. When you give your patients/customers more and easier options to pay you…your revenue has nowhere else to go but up.
One of the things we see most often as a billing company are unpaid, outstanding bills…from patients that have no private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid…languishing in accounts receivable for well beyond a reasonable amount of time. Or worse yet…they are never paid. Implementing the ability to take payments over the phone and online will not completely fix the problem of no-pays…but it will definitely help to minimize it.
- Medical Savings Accounts
MSAs are becoming more popular throughout the country. An employee pays a certain amount of money from their pay that goes into the MSA where it earns interest. These funds are used for medical expenses and are accessed, usually, by an associated debit card like Visa or Mastercard. If you have no mechanism in place for this kind of customer payment…you are automatically at a disadvantage.
- What about fees?
Companies that provide credit/debit card processing services do charge a fee. Many companies have moved to a transaction fee only…meaning you are only charged when they process a transaction. It is usually a percentage of the total transaction cost and that percentage varies depending on the company you choose. The question you need to ask yourself is…without the service…would we recoup these funds at all? Would we save more by not having to pay the service fees than we would gain by the increased revenue from uncaptured payments?
If you are utilizing a billing company to process your claims and find that your revenue is not where you feel it should be…think about this information. We analyze customer data constantly and feel that we have a unique perspective on the areas where monies are lost and ways that they could be otherwise collected.
I hope you’ve found this list useful. Please feel free to re-post, re-Tweet, and share with anyone else that might find the topic of interest.
I did not want to specifically list or endorse any particular companies in this article…but we do have a few that provide this kind of service that we know well and would be happy to share with you. If you would like their contact information just send an email request to ricklawson [at] mcawv [dot] com
Thanks for your time!