Studies continue to show that businesses and departments that set goals and actively track metrics related to those goals achieve better business outcomes. As a result, organizations are increasingly tracking core business metrics in an attempt to measure and improve results.
Billing managers or accounts receivable leaders at payers typically have several metrics they monitor to determine the effectiveness of their team. For many, one of those metrics is the percentage of on-time payments that members and employers make. Why is on-time payment important? Actualizing revenue quickly is important, but there are other reasons why on-time payments save money. It limits delinquency communication, which can cost time and money to prepare and send. And late payments may cause reconciliation issues, as well.
With that in mind, if you’ve identified increasing on-time health insurance premium payments as a goal, here are four tips that can help:
One of the simplest ways to achieve high on-time health insurance premium payments is by encouraging members to enroll in auto-pay. That can be achieved through several means, including:
- Periodic emails or direct mail specifically about how to set up auto-pay and the benefits of it. As marketers will tell you, it takes more than one communication to elicit an action from a consumer. Repetition is the key to increasing auto-pay signups.
- Including information about auto-payment options on invoices
- Including information about the benefits of auto-pay and/or encouraging auto-pay enrollment before or after a one-time payment is made online
- Make it easy to sign up. I’ve seen many health insurers who require a form to be manually completed and mailed to set up auto-payments. Those that turn that into a digital, web-based form likely have much higher auto-payment signup rates.
Make It Easy to Pay Online
A study by Forrester found that 73% of consumers will leave a poorly designed mobile website for one that makes purchasing easier. That also applies to your website. If you make it difficult for someone to make a payment, they are less likely to do so.
I’ve visited a fair share of health insurance websites. The best include a “Pay Bill” menu item somewhere on their home page, often in the header. By placing that button in the header, members can find it quickly, without the need to scroll. Unfortunately, many don’t include a bill pay link at all. That makes it difficult for a member or employer to make a payment without a lot of work, like logging into a member portal.
The easier you make it for a member to make a payment, the more likely they are to do so. This is why many insurers now provide access to payment capabilities outside their member portal. Instead, members can simply input some basic information and make a payment without logging in. That process can be easier for members to make a payment, especially if managing their website passwords is difficult.
Enable Many Payment Options
That same Forrester study that found that 73% of consumers will leave a poorly designed mobile website likely applies to the number of payment options offered. If you don’t offer many payment options, on-time payment rates likely suffer. For premium payments, that means offering members the ability to pay by credit and debit cards as well as by checks and via electronic funds transfer from a checking or savings account. If you only offer the option to mail in a check payment, your on-time payment rates will likely be much lower.
One item to note: If you’re sending invoices to groups, you’ll likely want to limit their ability to pay by credit cards. The large service fees that may be incurred may be cost-prohibitive. To improve on-time payments, consider auto-pay campaigns for these groups that highlight the ability to pay by automated ACH.
Review and Improve Your Invoice Process
The final step is to review your invoicing process. The best way to do that is to put yourself in your members’ shoes to determine potential process improvements. Some of our customers have found that enabling members to receive a notification when an invoice is available as well as mailing an invoice to the member can help improve payment rates. As with most member communications, delivering clear, concise messaging can help.
Continuing to consistently promote activities that improve payment rates — like auto-pay — while allowing members to select the communications channels best suited to their needs can combine to create higher on-time health insurance premium payment rates.
Certifi’s health insurance premium billing and payment solutions help healthcare payers improve member satisfaction while reducing administrative costs.