Thursday, June 21, 2007

How to ask for the co-pay...and how not to.

Getting co-pays is critical for your practice. Your cash flow depends on it. In general, patients have no problem ponying up the co-pay. They do it gladly. However, there are certain methods of asking for the co-pay that can increase--and decrease--whether or not you get it that day. Here is how to ask for co-pays if you DON'T want to collect them the day of the visit:

  • "Would you like to pay your co-pay now or later?" 5/5 will say, "later."

  • "Would you like to pay your co-pay now, or should we bill you later." 4/5, in my experience-->"bill later."
  • "How would you like to pay your co-pay?" Too open ended. Open ended questions are great during a medical history, but not when you are trying to collect money.
  • And of course the worst way is to see the patient first and then say, "Ok thanks" and then just send the bill for the co-pay. Oh, yes, this happens in many offices because the staff is just too busy and does not understand the importance of the co-pay.

Here is how to ask for a co-pay:

  • "I see that your co-pay is x-dollars. Will that be cash or check today." And of course, it is collected BEFORE the patient is seen.

That is the best way.

Of course, we don't deny people service because they can't pay the co-pay right then and there, but it does serve to let the patients know that we take co-pays seriously and that they will receive a bill in the mail, and that they will be expected to pay it.


The IU.

PS: How would you like to pay for this practice management tip, bank check or credit card?