Debt is almost everywhere you look, and there are as many types of collections as there are debts - think education, consumer, legal services, etc. Medical debt, however, is different than most of these, and therefore it warrants a different collection model. We at NSB strive to preserve human dignity in all aspects of all collections, but our medical collections staff are also specially trained to deal with patients who owe money from medical procedures. So, what is it exactly that differentiates medical debt from other types of collections?
The unexpected nature of health problems: Medical emergencies are not planned. There is no rhyme or reason as to when someone falls seriously ill or becomes injured. For this reason, many people may not be financially prepared when illness or accidents strike. Unlike a house or car loan, there is no prior financial planning in medical emergencies. This can be an incredible burden, especially if someone doesn’t have a robust insurance plan, which is tied to...
The amount of the debt: It’s no secret that healthcare costs are rising, and the result is that employers and individuals alike are selecting higher-deductible insurance plans. What this means for medical practices is that patients are increasingly responsible for larger payments, and the collections mentality needs to shift a little from insurance collections to patient collections, which is a completely different ball game.
The human element: A person’s medical history (and any procedures that they’ve had) is highly personal information, and warrants additional measures to protect their privacy. A collection agency needs to be HIPAA-compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), but its staff also need to be sensitive to the fact that someone may have recently gone through a traumatic experience or other life-changing event. This factor should strongly influence the sort of debt collection pursued.
As shown above, there are a few key differentiators to keep in mind when you’re considering collections for medical debt. Of course you want to be paid, but you also want to maintain a professional, respectful relationship with patients and clients, and preserve human dignity at all times. Look for an agency that understands the importance of patient-provider relationships - this will go a long way towards making sure collections are accomplished in such a way that 1) you get paid and 2) the relationship is preserved...which is a win-win!