Collecting Big Patient Deductibles

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THERE HAS BEEN EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN THE NUMBER OF PATIENTS enrolled in high- deductible health plans. Currently, more than 20 million people have HDHPs. This is one reason why many labs are experiencing high levels of patient bad debt never before seen by the lab industry during the past three decades.

For several years, THE DARK REPORT has helped you understand the trend of soaring enrollment of consumers into HDHPs. This trend is why we rec- ommend that every clinical lab and pathology group work to develop the capability to collect these sizeable co-pays and deductibles at the time of serv- ice, when patients show up at patient service centers to provide specimens.

In fact, THE DARK REPORT was first to write about the capabilities of Sonora Quest Laboratories in Phoenix, Arizona, to collect overdue amounts of money from patients during their visits to PSCs. In the first 15 months of the program, SQL collected $3.2 million of patient bad debt. That’s a hefty return on investment and should be an inspiration to other labs considering how to collect from patients at the time of service. (See TDR, December 2, 2013 and January 13, 2014.)

In this issue, you will read about another lab that is innovating with a pro- gram designed to help it collect more patient co-pays and deductibles. On pages 3-6, we introduce you to Counsyl, self-described as a “clinical laboratory and technology company” in the Silicon Valley. Counsyl has implemented a lab test cost tool that patients use to obtain an estimate of how much the cost of the genetic tests will be, given their specific insurance plan.

Not only has this innovative service helped Counsyl increase revenue from patient payments by 63% since its partial implementation several months ago, but the lab company’s patient satisfaction scores have gone up as well!

I recommend that you and your lab management team study our intelligence briefing about Counsyl’s program to provide cost estimates of what patients can expect to pay at the time that their physician is ready to order these genetic tests. It is a road map that can inform your own lab’s efforts to be better at collecting the substantial co-pays and deductibles that ever-larger numbers of patients owe your lab. As you do, this will be one more example of how THE DARK REPORT is delivering measurable value to you and your laboratory.

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