The One Question Your Front Desk Should Never Ask Patients

100 dollar bill

Has your insurance information changed?”

Front desks ask established patients this question time and time again. If the front desk staff at your eye care practice is asking the same question, it’s probably costing you money.

“Your most common billing errors don’t involve high-tech systems or cloud-based computing,” says Part B Insider’s Torrey Kim. “The reality is that many billing mistakes can actually be thwarted at the patient registration desk.”

“Patient registration issues still remain the top reason for denials,” says Trent Shelton of Solutions4MD’s, Inc., a North Carolina-based medical billing and consulting firm.

“Sometimes it’s simple keying errors, other times a patient’s insurance information has changed, or the spouse/parent is the policyholder but it wasn’t indicated on the claim,” he tells PBI. “It can be as simple as asking the right question,” Shelton says. “For example, don’t just ask your returning patients at check-in if any of their information has changed. Ask them to look at the information you have on file and confirm that it’s correct.”

“Most major insurances provide free web portals that allow a practice to check a patient’s insurance information,” advises Shelton. “If all patients’ insurance information is screened through these portals prior to their scheduled visit, the discrepancies can be identified ahead of time and can be resolved before a billable service is ever generated.”

Want to make it even simpler, even if your front desk staff turns over and you’re hard-pressed to train newer staff?

Some practice management software includes insurance verification tools, and most patient portals make insurance updates and verifications even easier. For more front desk tips that make your eye care practice more profitable and slash uncollected A/R, go here.

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Photo Credit: Philip Taylor. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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