LTC collections director Chaim Cohen observes that the pressure to file claims in a timely manner – and the need for healthcare businesses to constantly move forward — often leave any lingering collection issues in the dust. That, of course, means perfectly collectible money uncollected.
Collection questions like, “What shall we do now?” or “How do we proceed from here?” are often asked too far into the collection process – sometimes after 120 days or more — rather than right at the start.
The unfortunate result is lost money that could have been collected months ago.
So the one thing you should never do when facing a Aging receivable issue: wait. Don’t put it on the back burner.
How is your company’s Aging receivable health? Is it all that it can be, or do you sense a need for improvement? Chaim says that in many cases, collection issues are more resolvable than most people expect.
Here are a few examples:
When the initial claim or the rebill fails to be processed in a timely fashion, the works get gummed up. Timing is everything.
Another red flag that slows down or roadblocks collections are claims that were processed incorrectly. You may have crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, but insurance companies are used to denying claims. Whether the answer is justified or not, you may not have the time or the knowledge to follow through.
Sometimes the problem is not even collecting the money at all; it’s actually more about not posting the payment correctly. For instance, on the books, it may look like there is an outstanding balance, but it could be that the payment was posted in the wrong place or perhaps it was not posted at all. Technically, the aging receivable was paid, but it was not recorded. This is a basic “cleaning up” solution that Chaim tackles often.
Incorrect coding also presents a typical collections obstacle. The bill may contain the wrong code, which prevents the claim from going through. A simple fix, but often an overlooked issue.
The reason why aging receivables are often so difficult is because the original issues that caused the problem (listed above) are not addressed. Even if the fix is easy, they don’t go away or resolve themselves — they are still going to be there as time goes on. You need to address them stat.
Of course, you may not have the time, the staff, or the resources to tackle those issues, as well as the knowledge of what actually went wrong.
Here are a few tips that Chaim recommends in order to get your aging receivables in order:
Categorize all claims. There are many reasons for collection troubles, including claim denials, filing timing or authorization complications. LTC regularly points out issues that may be the weak link in the aging receivable chain, and can even keep you from needing collection services in the future.
Have your collections evaluated by an outside source. Sometimes it takes a second set of eyes to catch the problem or a collections professional who knows what to look for. LTC examines your collection issues from all angles and offers solutions that will prevent similar problems in the future. Chaim says that it’s a beneficial “two-for-one” deal: get your collection issue resolved and, at the same time, learn how to deal with that issue if and when it happens again.
It helps that LTC is well connected in the industry, with a large network of contacts (in both low and high places) that may help facilitate the collection in an efficient way. LTC takes the time that you may not have to dig into the problem.
Chaim adds that most businesses focus on fires that are right in front of them, in the present moment. They are often too busy with current balances to spend too much time on last year’s balances. In most cases, businesses often write them off as a loss.
However, LTC shows that the quicker you act on a collection, the sooner you’ll resolve it so that you can move on with a more balanced aging.
With that in mind, remember this: even with the right collection skills and the right connections, the longer you wait, the less likely it can be successful. Make collection a top priority, and as soon as possible.
Time is money, so don’t leave any on the table.