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Tax Refunds Create Spikes in Healthcare Spend. Are you Prepared?

Spring isn’t just a great time for planting perennials and going for a Saturday picnic—a 2017 study by JP Morgan Chase Institute tells us it’s also a good time to finally schedule X-rays and an MRI to check out that bothersome back pain, or even have bariatric or antireflux surgery.

In other words, March and April are when families spend the most out-of-pocket dollars on healthcare, as roughly 80% of tax filers receive their tax refunds—so these refunds can directly impact on your practice. (There’s a second spike in spending another time of the year—can you guess when? Read on to find out!)

Since increased healthcare spending corresponds to months when families appear to have a greater ability to pay, healthcare organizations should be prepared both from a staffing and revenue cycle perspective.

With this insight, you can prepare by implementing and optimizing revenue cycle management solutions that automate payments. Your organization can then take advantage of improved collection capabilities during recurring spikes in the spring and—guess when that second spike happens?—the end of the year.

A few quick tips to help you get ready:

  1. Replace old credit card terminals with streamlined devices placed conveniently at each front-desk workstation.
  2. Implement flexible payment applications that make it easy for patients to pay balances. Additionally, automated payment plans, keeping a credit card on file to pay small balances and offering convenient online payment options are just the types of handy digital choices patients expect. (Check out our Patient Payment Check-Up survey report for more insight on what patients want.)
  3. Start collecting email addresses as part of your check-in process so you can transition from paper to electronic statements. This can save the cost of printing and mailing statements while also improving your ability to collect balances due.
  4. Use emotional intelligence and leverage your knowledge of your patients to accelerate patient payments.
  5. Integrate new payment tools into the daily reconciliation process to further streamline processes for your staff.

Historically, it has been tough to get patients to pay—but preparing for annual patterns in healthcare spending can help your organization benefit from increased revenue. Another advantage: automating the payment process will deliver rewards throughout the entire year, not just during tax season.

For even more tips to help you build a strong revenue cycle, download Patient Collections eBook: 12 Strategies for Success today.

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