As coronavirus fears continue to become reality in the United States, health systems are facing myriad financial challenges related to the response, not the least of which is resolving patient accounts when all is said and done. HFMA Policy Director Chad Mulvany provided four actions health systems should be taking now to keep coronavirus patients satisfied with their experience after they’re home and well.
1. Get familiar with payer policy exceptions for coronavirus. America’s Health Insurance Plans has compiled a list of what some health plans are doing. Many are waiving copays for testing and covering telehealth services. Furthermore, the IRS has said that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for testing and treatment without losing their HDHP status. Knowing what payers are doing will make for a more seamless billing experience for the patient, Mulvany said.
2. Rethink the organization’s financial assistance policies. Many patients are losing work because of the coronavirus and won’t be able to pay a bill that wouldn’t have been a problem a few months ago. And it might make sense to extend assistance to people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify, Mulvany said. “I don’t know if it’s reasonable to do, but it’s a conversation to have,” he said.
3. Screen patients appropriately for financial assistance and communicate all applicable policies and practices for medical account debt resolution. HFMA provides guidance around patient financial communications and other topics as part of its Healthcare Dollars & Sense initiative.
4. Stay current with coronavirus coverage provided by HFMA. This area is updated daily with the latest from CMS and other reputable sources.