One of your employees came into your office, explaining she had another lengthy phone call with a patient addressing their questions. Do you feel at a loss for what to do next? After all, your team knows the answer, but some patients have more difficulty grasping the information than others.
While most men and women understand how their insurance works, many need additional explanations before they place an order. When your team can communicate details effectively, the phone calls become faster, the patient feels better, and you feel good knowing everything is operating smoothly.
So, what can you do to shorten these phone conversations so your staff can keep working? Well, this article will provide tips to equip your team with better communication skills so they can answer three common questions, including the frequently asked one, “what is HME medical insurance?”
Tips on Effectively Communicating with Patients
Practical communication skills have been shown to increase collection times, decrease future phone calls, and even help improve the provider and patient relationship. Since the older generation is the most frequent user of DME and HME, learning a few additional skill sets to better communicate with them can make a significant difference. And sometimes, all it takes is a few minor changes to what your team is already doing. Consider having them incorporate some of the below tips into their phone calls and see if it makes a difference.
- Establish a rapport at the start of the conversation
- Speak in short sentences (so they’re easier to understand)
- Only ask one question at a time and wait for their response
- Answer their question, then confirm they grasped the information
- Remind them you’re here to help them understand their financial responsibility
- Allow them to share their concerns before addressing their comments or questions
- Show empathy for their concerns
Strengthen Skills Now to Reduce Future Phone Calls
Incorporating some of the above methods might take a little practice, but it’s worth the time. Our patient care team frequently works with patients on their financial responsibilities, and using some of the above techniques helps to educate the patient and reduce future phone calls.
How to Answer the Question: What is HME Medical Insurance?
Now that you have tools to help your team handle patient calls, the next step is addressing their questions. Many times, patients have difficulty comprehending what their Medicare insurance includes. They might even think they need specific HME medical insurance to purchase their HME. Here are a few simple responses (that use short sentences) to assist your team when addressing the question, “what is HME medical insurance?”
- HME medical insurance is typically included with your insurance.
- Most Medicare and third-party insurance will cover HME supplies.
- In order to pay for your insurer to pay for HME, your doctor needs to prescribe it.
- HME items help to treat or diagnose your current illness or injury.
- HME items are made to be used in your home.
How to Answer the Question: How Much Will I Need to Pay?
Another common question we hear patients ask before placing their order is, “how much will this cost me?” That answer will depend on several factors. To help provide them better understanding, try using some of the responses below.
- Your insurer determines if your insurance will cover all or only a portion of the cost.
- Your cost might be higher if you haven’t met your annual deductible.
- Your doctor needs to prescribe the equipment, so your insurance will help to cover the cost.
How to Answer the Question: Should I Rent or Buy My Equipment?
Patients often want to ensure there are no surprise costs after receiving their equipment. Explaining the difference between purchases and rentals, including what their insurance covers, can help to give the patient peace of mind.
- If you rent an item, your rental agreement will cover the maintenance and repairs costs.
- If you purchase the equipment, you’re responsible for future costs.
- Your insurance determines rentals and purchases.
- Typically, insurers only allow rentals if the overall cost is less than a purchase.
- Insurers determine the cost by reviewing the item, your diagnosis, and the extended length of time using the equipment.
Medbill Can Help to Address Your Patient Pay Concerns
The above information only covers a small number of patient questions. At Medbill, our team is familiar with patient calls and addressing concerns. They know how to speak clearly and can empathize with the patient so they can navigate the call successfully.