Once a medical debt progresses to the collection stage, patients can become difficult to pin down. This is not necessarily because they don’t want to pay the money, but because they know that collection agents (the dreaded debt collectors) can be relentless and, often, quite mean. Even if your collection staff follows all laws, the reputation of collectors is one of conflict. The solution is to try a new strategy: being more flexible and working with what you have, which could increase your ability to collect.
It is typical of medical bill collections for the collector to not let go, in a sense, of the person who owes money. There can be constant calls, regular letters, and even texts, and the rate of contact can be quite frequent. But this hounding often doesn’t pay off as well as the collector might hope.
Instead, finding out why the person hasn’t been able to pay and seeing what that person is able to pay, even over a longer period of time, creates the impression that the debt collector wants to work with the debtor. So instead of hounding, your collection staff might find out what the person could pay for now, even if it’s small, and then establish an agreed-upon contact schedule. For example, the collector and debtor might agree to a series of small payments for a few months, and then set up another call to discuss whether increasing the payment is possible. Sometimes it’s not, and the collector has to keep accepting small payments. But here’s the point: With those small payments, the office is getting something. And if the debtor’s situation improves, and he or she can pay more, the debtor is more likely to cooperate with a collector who wants to help.
What this is not
This strategy is not rolling over and allowing the debtor to walk away. This is still a collection process. It’s just one that is more willing to extend payments on the theory that, if given the ability to make smaller payments, the debtor will actually do so instead of hiding.
Let Advanced Reimbursement Solutions help you make the shift to a different collection strategy. Talk to our staff in Phoenix or Wilmington to find out more about our billing and collection services.